Do Strikeouts Make Baseball Fun or Boring?

One of the may things that I love about pitching is the art of the strikeout. For some fans the lack of action equates to boredom. According to “Real or Not? Striking Examples of Failure Becoming a Turnoff,” Major League teams have averaged 8.72 strikeouts per game this season, a 1.01 increase from 2015, and 1.95 from 2008. “That means about four more strikeouts between both teams per game than we had a decade ago,” according to the same article. So do strikeouts make baseball fun or boring?

Back in 2016, my friend Chuck Fountain and I attended a Red Sox game. David Pricebaseball fun faced off against Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher Chris Tillman. Price was superb by striking out eleven in eight innings. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the 3-2 deficit. Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop hit home runs for the O’s while Jackie Bradley Jr. took Tillman deep in the seventh inning. Aside from those home runs, Fenway Park was pretty quiet that night. Looking around the stadium I noticed how bored a lot of fans looked. Chuck and I talked about it on the walk back to his car. We thought it’d been a very interesting game to watch because the pitching had been so strong. Price and Tillman had a combined eighteen strikeouts. Price and closer Craig Kimbrel didn’t even walk a single O’s batter. It wasn’t the home run derby that many fans look forward to, but for two baseball writers, it was like watching a duel between two skilled marksmen.

Do Strikeouts Make Baseball Fun? More Than You Think

Many baseball fans go to the ballpark hoping to see as many home runs as possible. Fewer fans though seem to appreciate the art of the strikeout. Fans complain about the pitch count, fouled off balls, and other aspects of an at-bat that can draw a game out. What they don’t understand though is that it’s not a drawn out affair as much as it’s a duel between a pitcher and a hitter, both of whom are trying to overpower the other. A skilled hitter will foul off ball after ball until he gets the pitch he wants. In the process he’s trying to wear out the pitcher. The same goes for the hitter. A skilled pitcher throws an arsenal of pitches that are designed to deceive the hitter. There isn’t a baseball fan who doesn’t already knows this, but it’s also something that many fans don’t seem to appreciate.

Instead of complaining about the lack of home runs, focus instead on the pitching duel that you see in every game. It’s a mental game between two of the top athletes in the world. That makes baseball fun for this writer!

Boston Red Sox Set to Take on AL-Best Detroit Tigers

detroit tiger and Boston Red SoxThe Boston Red Sox may have lost two of three to the Minnesota Twins, but the Detroit Tigers are coming to town which means time to bring the best play to the table. The Red Sox started to hit against the weak Twins series and even rallied from a couple holes to make the two losses at least interesting. The reigning AL Champions will need to rely on both their pitching and offense to win against the 24-12 Tigers.

The Red Sox may be 20-20, but their pitching has really been the tale of the season with up-and-down starts and this series should be a pitcher’s duel until both teams reach the bullpens.

In the first game tonight, Jon Lester will go against Max Scherzer. Lester won last year’s matchup with Scherzer in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel and it should be another solid contest. Sure, the Red Sox will have trouble as they are 10-15 against righties this season which ranks among the bottom of MLB.

In Saturday’s contest, 5-2 John Lackey will get the ball opposite 6-1 Rick Porcello. Both starters have started off with ERAs of 3.57 and 3.22 respectively and should be another solid game.

In the finale at Fenway Park on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, Jake Peavy will take on Anibal Sanchez. The 30-year-old right-handed starter will be activated before the contest for the Tigers. Peavy has been solid with a 1-1 record and an ERA under 4.00.

All of these contests should be close depending on how well the pitcher’s for Boston can limit the hot Tigers’ lineup and if the Red Sox lineup can hit all these right-handed starters.

The player that needs to be watched in this series has to be ex-Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez.The 35-year-old has a rejuvenated swing with a solid .336 average to go along with nine home runs and 23 RBI. The homers and average are tops among qualified players on the team. The switch-hitter may be playing mostly at DH, but his hitting alone will drive the Red Sox wild this series.

In a weekend series that is a must-see early in the season, the Tigers and Red Sox will put on a show for all baseball fans. This series could go either way, so there will be no prediction.

Enjoy the games!