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Adam Dunn has a 22-game … strikeout streak

Apr 26, 2012, 9:12 AM EDT

Chicago White Sox's first baseman Adam Dunn takes a swing during their spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe Reuters

Records that I never thought about once until someone told me this morning: the strikeout streak. As in, consecutive games in which a hitter struck out.  But, yes, it is a thing — Jarrod Saltalamacchia set it at 28 games in 2009 – and Adam Dunn is challenging it.

Dunn struck out twice last night, running his streak to 22 straight games with a strikeout, dating to last season.  And his streak is not a cheapie: they’re coming in bunches. He has 29 in 67 at bats this year.

He gets Daniel Bard, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett in his next three games. I have this feeling he’ll be at 25 by the time the weekend is over.

  1. Lukehart80 - Apr 26, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Ventura will pull him after he grounds out in his first AB.

  2. mybrunoblog - Apr 26, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    The strikeout has become an accepted part of the game over the last 15 years or so. This is a record that will probably be broken by Dunn or somebody else real soon and will continue to climb.
    Imagine if Nolan Ryan were pitching in this era? He could easily K over 400 batters in a season.

    • thefalcon123 - Apr 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      Why, this sounds like a fun math problem! While strikeouts are way up, innings pitched by starters are way down. So, if Ryan matched the leagues overall increase in Ks and decrease in starters innings, how many would he K in a full season?

      From 1972-1974, Ryan averaged 360 Ks in an average of 314 innings in an average of 40 starts (7.9 innings per start). With some quick and dirty BBR math, full time AL starters averaged 7.2 innings per started, thus putting Ryan 9.7% ahead of his contemporaries (30+ starts is my cutoff).

      In the same span, pitchers average 5.1 Ks per nine innings, Ryan averaged 10.3. For the sake of simplicity, let’s just say he is double the average for Ks.

      In 2011, AL Pitchers average 6.5 innings per start and pitchers K’d 6.9 batters per nine innings. Furthermore, Ryan would now be part of a 5 man rotation and wouldn’t start 40 games. Let’s say he starts 34. So Ryan would work roughly 249 innings and would strike out 13.8 batters per nine.

      Therefore, I would expect early 1970s Nolan Ryan to strike out about “just” 382 batters per season nowadays. What a wiener!

      • thefalcon123 - Apr 26, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        Oops. I feel victim to the fallacy that Ryan was at his strikeout best in the early 70′s. While these are his highest single season totals, he actually struck out more batters per nine in late 1980s. 40 year old Astro Nolan Ryan K’d 11.5 per nine and 42 year old Ranger K’d 11.2 per nine.

        So, oddly enough, mid-20s Ryan may have been just short of 400 Ks. But early 40s Ryan could have K’d 400 per year!

        Which is insane.

      • The Dangerous Mabry - Apr 26, 2012 at 10:45 AM

        But wait! When Ryan was 40, he wasn’t throwing 314 innings anymore. So you’ve got to take that into account as well, don’t you?

      • thefalcon123 - Apr 26, 2012 at 11:16 AM

        …sigh.You leave me no choice by to stop doing actual work and figure this out.

        I crunched the number for 1989 only (increase in K’s, IP, Ryan’s numbers, etc) and have 42 year old Ryan at 374 K’s in modern days.

        You sir, are correct. 42 year old Ryan probably wouldn’t have gotten to 400 Ks either.

      • The Dangerous Mabry - Apr 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        Nothing like peer review of back-of-the-envelope internet message board math.

      • mekons5 - Apr 26, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        Without doubt, the funniest exchange on the innertubes in at least 24 hours.

      • channingtaintum - Apr 27, 2012 at 3:13 AM

        Falcon……That.Was.Awesome!

        But I can trust with my eyes that Nolan would get to 400.

  3. heyblueyoustink - Apr 26, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    I believe his daily hot dog eating streak is also intact.

  4. Detroit Michael - Apr 26, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Assuming there is such a record as a strikeout streak, it’s a bit ambiguous whether we would count streaks extending from one regular season to the next.

  5. jlovenotjlo - Apr 26, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    How did Dunn not set this record last season?

    • proudlycanadian - Apr 26, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      Go for it Dunn. Salty does not deserve to hold this record.

  6. aceshigh11 - Apr 26, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Damn, I thought he was going to sort things out this year.

    I didn’t give Dunn much thought until I read an interview with him that was posted on HBT last year, and he seemed like such an earnest, down-to-earth guy who was trying really hard but just couldn’t make it happen.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Apr 26, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      Just because he’s striking out a lot doesn’t mean he’s not hitting well. His numbers so far this season are more or less right in line with his career numbers:

      Career: .243/.374/.504
      2012: .239/.346/.522

      Obviously “projected” numbers are insane at this point, but if he played just this way for the rest of the season, he’d end up with 36 homers, 63! doubles, 126 RBI, 99 BB, and yes, 261 K.

      • aceshigh11 - Apr 26, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        Good point. Thanks for that.

    • mekons5 - Apr 26, 2012 at 1:45 PM

      One of the funniest things I ever saw was Dunn on Top Chef chomping on the chefs’ takes on ballpark food. First, he actually seemed to know a lot about food. And second, but more importantly, you don’t realize how freaking huge he is until you see him next to normal people. Everyone else looked like actors in a live-action Smurfs movie. Anyway, I gained an appreciation for the guy and suffered through last year with him. As did a lot of the rest of Chicago. And, remember, Chicago was home to both Dave Kingman and Swish Nicholson, so there’s a history here.

      • aceshigh11 - Apr 26, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        Damn, I remember that episode! They did it at Nationals Park a couple of years ago. I forgot all about that.

  7. mekons5 - Apr 26, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    I cannot believe the record belongs to Salty. Rob Deer, the aptly nicknamed Swish Nicholson and Dave Kingman MUST have had at least that many. Or so my rapidly diminishing memory tells me. Those guys made striking out into an art form.

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