"He struck him out, and the side is retired!"
I'm not a fan of exclamation points but if we could ascribe a punctuation mark to an inning, it would be the strikeout that ends an inning. There is something both dramatic and discouraging about the end of inning whiff, obviously depending upon which side of the whiff you are on.
The end of the inning strikeout may come after six runs have scored which means it evoke a sigh of relief or discouragement. It may be the third (or even the fourth) strikeout of the inning, which invariably deserves the same number of exclamation points as there were whiffs, as in "He struck out the side!!!"
It's a great race this season for inning-ending strikeouts
Nine to Know
- Felix Hernandez has 35
- Max Scherzer has 34
- Yu Darvish has 33
- Clayton Kershaw has 33
- Matt Harvey has 31
- A.J. Burnett has 31
- Justin Verlander has 30
- Jeff Samardzija has 30
- Adam Wainwright has 30
Let's up the ante - Inning-ending strikeouts with runners in scoring position
- A.J. Burnett has 16
- Felix Hernandez has 14
- Yovani Gallardo has 12
- Justin Masterson has 11
- Tommy Milone has 10
- Madison Bumgarner has 10
- Justin Verlander has 10
- Jeff Samardzija has 10
- Gio Gonzalez has 10
- Clay Buchholz has 10
A.J. Burnett has had two strikeouts with the bases loaded and a 3-2 count!
Pitchers who have ended the 9th or extra-innings with a whiff
- Aroldis Chapman has ended 19 innings
- Jason Grilli has ended 13 innings
- Sergio Romo has ended 10 innings
- Mariano Rivera has ended 10 innings
- Fernando Rodney has ended 10 innings
- Craig Kimbrel has ended 10 innings
Pitchers who have ended the 9th or extra-innings with a whiff w/RISP
- Aroldis Chapman has ended seven innings
- Fernando Rodney has ended six innings
- Addison Reed has ended six innings
- Mariano Rivera has ended five innings
- Greg Holland has ended four innings
- Grant Balfour has ended four innings
- Craig Kimbrel has ended four innings
Two Sides to every coin
For every pitcher that throws an inning-ending strikeout, there is a batter who returns to the dugout with his head down.
The leader in that category this season is Mike Napoli, who so far has 27 inning-ending strikeouts.