Remember the 2010 season, when the likes of Mark Reynolds, Adam LaRoche, Chris Young and Justin Upton were all striking out at rates never before seen on a team? They whiffed a record 1529 times that year. Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro in a recent blog post noted how the strikeout is becoming a problem.
While the rate of strikeouts this season is nothing like 2010, the D-backs once again are tops in the league.
This flies in the face of the way general manager Kevin Towers wants to build a baseball team. It was the exact reason why, despite their power production, Reynolds and LaRoche did not return to the team.
Manager Kirk Gibson is not pleased. When asked if it is a concern, his response was as you would expect. "Of course it is," he replied. "You've got to make contact."
A perfect example of how it is an issue was Monday night. Gerardo Parra led off the first inning with a triple. Justin Upton struck out. Then after a Jason Kubel walk, both Miguel Montero and Cody Ransom whiffed. One ball in play likely gets Parra to cross the plate.
That inning all but set the tone for the rest of the game.
Is there an easy solution? Perhaps. Gibson believes that his hitters are letting hittable pitches go by earlier in the count.
It is a delicate balance. You do not want hitters too aggressive early in the count, but they have to hit the hittable pitches.
Who can change this trend? It falls squarely on the shoulders of Justin Upton and Jason Kubel. Both are expected to be the big bats in the lineup. Upton has looked at called strike threes almost have of his strikeouts. Kubel has done so 38 percent of the time. They are the hitters that need to be swinging the bat.
Thursday's day off obviously comes at a good time. Maybe a day away the game will get them all back on track before the San Francisco Giants come to town for the weekend.