Why bringing an end to the strikeout scourge might require some three-dimensional thinking.
Even if you’ve missed Rob Neyer’s midnight ride to warn the world about the Strikeout Scourge—one if by land, two if by sea, three strikes you’re out—you can’t help but have noticed how many plate appearances are ending in punchouts. Baseball’s strikeout rate is up this season (from an old-record 19.9 percent last year to a new-record 20.4 percent in 2014), and batting average is at its lowest ebb in the DH era. As a result, action seems scarce, unless you prefer seeing swings-and-misses to watching balls in play.
Everyone has a pet fix for this state of affairs, or at least a way to prevent it from growing worse. Although recent research by Russell Carleton revealed that educating hitters might help turn the tide, most proposed solutions suggest hamstringing hurlers. Tighten the strike zone. Limit the number of permissible pitching changes. Politely ask Stephen Strasburg to retire for the good of the game.
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