Whiff Ball

Strikeouts are soaring as smarter pitchers throw more heat

Al Bello/Getty Images

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: Curtis Granderson #14 of the New York Yankees reacts after striking out against the Minnesota Twins during their game on April 18, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Feel that cool summer breeze? Good chance it's coming from a ballpark near you. Big leaguers are whiffing at a record pace. As of mid-July's All-Star break, 19.6% of trips to the plate this season ended in a U-turn. The previous highest K rate on record, 18.6%, was last season's; according to the statistics site FanGraphs.com that's the biggest increase in 27 years. Strikeouts per nine innings have risen 14.9% in the past decade and more than a third over the past 20 years.

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