Brewers' staff on record strikeout pace

Brewers' staff on record strikeout pace

CHICAGO -- The Brewers are proving this season that you don't have to blow away hitters to strike them out at a record rate.

Including 15 more in Monday's wild 15-4 win over the Cubs, Milwaukee pitchers have a Major League-leading 1,104 strikeouts, even though they are tied for baseball's fewest games played. At their current pace, the Brewers would finish the season with 1,408 strikeouts, a franchise record by far -- the 2010 Brewers struck out 1,258 -- and more than a record set by Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and the Cubs, who struck out 1,404 opposing batters in 2003.

"It's always good, but it's not like strikeouts are the key thing you try to do," said Yovani Gallardo, who is on track for his fourth consecutive 200-strikeout season. "It just shows you the kind of talent we have here, that we are able to get the strikeout when we need to. The guys we have here have command of three or four pitches, and we throw strikes. That's why we have those strikeouts."

Brewers pitchers have combined to reach double-digit whiffs in seven straight games since Aug. 19, when Randy Wolf was knocked around by the Phillies in his final start. That's the longest streak in Major League history since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I know we've got some big strikeout numbers," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Every day, I look up there and I'll glance around the ballpark and see those blue K's up there and I'm like, 'Man, that's a lot.' ... It's amazing when you look up there every night, and you think it would be because we're throwing 95-98 [mph]."

But John Axford, Mark Rogers and occasionally Francisco Rodriguez aside, they are not. Mike Fiers, for example, has 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings with a fastball averaging 88 mph.