#Hot Corner

The single-game strikeout record will be broken this month

Jonathan Daniel

Definitely, maybe.

Back in April, I predicted that the single-game strikeout record was in mortal danger. At the time, the league strikeout rate was nearly 8 strikeouts per team, per game, though it's since come down a bit to 7.5. Which is still incredibly high. If the current pace holds, 2013 will be the second-best (or worst, depending on your point of view) strikeout season in MLB history.

The current pace won't hold, though, it will increase. Why? Because strikeouts increase as temperatures fall. Hot weather is good for batters; cool weather is good for pitchers. Batting average, runs, home runs, even BABiP all decrease as temperatures fall, while strikeouts increase. Of the 25 games in which a pitcher struck out 18 or more opposing batters, 13 were played either before May 9th or after Labor Day. Three were in October. Temperature matters.

So the combination of historically high strikeout rates and cooler temperatures leads me to this falsifiable prediction: The single-game strikeout rate will fall by the end of September. If I'm right, I expect you to remember this, and to write songs about my powers of prophecy. If I'm wrong, I will pay the administrators of the ultranet a handsome fee to dispose of any evidence of my error.

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