The Cubs’ 2003 pitching staff set the major league single-season strikeout record of 1,404 punchouts.
Starters Kerry Wood (266), Mark Prior (245), Matt Clement (171), Carlos Zambrano (168) & Shawn Estes (103) combined for 953 strikeouts.
Relievers Kyle Farnsworth (92), Mike Remlinger (83) & Juan Cruz (65) accounted for another 240….closer Joe Borowski added (66) strikeouts pushing the season total to 1,259…and various other hurlers for Chicago managed a combined 145 strikeouts helping achieve the new mark.
But as we’ve reached the final regular season game of 2012, the Milwaukee Brewers’ pitching staff has come within 9 strikeouts of breaking the Cubs’ 2003 record.
Our Cubs of yesteryear, however, have caught a huge break with Milwaukee choosing to sit its regularly scheduled starter, and staff ace, Yovani Gallardo (16-9, 3.66), in the final regular season game against San Diego.
Gallardo’s 204 punchouts are 5th best in the National League. Twice this season he’s struck out 10 or more batters in a game…and 7 times he’s recorded 8 or more strikeouts in a single outing.
In place of Gallardo the Brewers send right-hander Josh Stinson to the mound–to make his first major league start. In five relief appearances this season Stinson has struck out a grand total of 3 batters…a pretty good swing of fortune in the ’03 Cubs’ favor.
Meanwhile, the Padres have the 12th most strikeouts in the majors this year, two ahead of the Cubs’ (1,230) K’s. And given the Padres have accounted for 8 & 10 strikeouts over its past 2 games in Milwaukee…the Cubs’ high-water mark in K’s might just be the latest record ready to be broken.