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Archive for Saturday, September 22, 2001

Strikeouts plague Brewers’ batters

September 22, 2001

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— The Milwaukee Brewers swung their way to a dubious record.

With 10 strikeouts on Friday night against Cincinnati, the Brewers had struck out 1,272 times this season passing the major league record of 1,268 set by the Detroit Tigers five years ago.

The Brewers also have the opportunity to become the first team to have more strikeouts than hits. Milwaukee has 23 more strikeouts than hits.

"Obviously, we would like to cut down our strikeout ratio," manager Davey Lopes said. "It's cost us too many ballgames. One hit, one ground ball, one sacrifice fly could have made a difference in so many games."

Not even hitting coach Rod Carew, one of the greatest contact hitters in the game's history, could help solve the team's offensive problems.

Three players Jose Hernandez, Richie Sexson and Jeromy Burnitz are all in the top seven in the National League's strikeout list.

Hernandez leads the majors with 170 strikeouts, the most ever by a shortstop. His 580 during the past four seasons is the highest strikeout rate in the majors.

"I don't care about strikeouts," Hernandez said. "I can tell my son and grandsons that I led the league in strikeouts. I'm supposed to play defense and offense. Strikeouts happen. It's no big deal."

Hernandez has exceeded all expectations defensively at shortstop and ranks second in the NL to San Francisco's Rich Aurilia with 23 home runs and 74 RBIs.

"Because of the position he plays and how he plays it, we can accept (the strikeouts)," Hernandez said. "Now, you don't want to surround him with too many players who do the same thing. That's when it becomes glaring."

Milwaukee could also become the first team with three players with 150 or more strikeouts in a season.

Sexson has struck out 165 times and Burnitz 138.

"It's an area we have to address, I will say that," general manager Dean Taylor said. "We have a number of players who have high strikeout totals. We said earlier in the season that our hitters need to be more patient at the plate and work situations into hitter's counts as opposed to pitcher's counts."

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