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Wanted: Double-digit strikeouts

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Where have all the 10 K games gone?

USA TODAY Sports

While writing Marco Estrada's MVBrewers post yesterday, I stumbled across something I had previously forgotten: Estrada's nine strikeout game on August 25 was the Brewers' season high.

2013 was the first time since 2003 the Brewers have gone a full season without a starting pitcher recording a 10K game. This comes one year after they tied a franchise record with eleven such performances in 2012:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO
1 Zack Greinke 2012-05-09 MIL CIN L 1-2 GS-8 8.0 2 0 0 0 11
2 Yovani Gallardo 2012-06-05 MIL CHC L 0-10 GS-6 ,L 6.0 6 5 5 1 10
3 Zack Greinke 2012-06-06 MIL CHC W 8-0 GS-7 ,W 7.0 2 0 0 2 12
4 Marco Estrada 2012-06-26 MIL CIN L 3-4 GS-6 6.0 5 3 3 2 12
5 Mike Fiers 2012-06-30 MIL ARI W 10-2 GS-6 ,W 6.0 2 0 0 3 10
6 Marco Estrada 2012-07-14 MIL PIT L 4-6 GS-6 5.2 6 3 3 1 11
7 Yovani Gallardo 2012-07-15 MIL PIT W 4-1 GS-7 ,W 7.0 4 1 1 0 14
8 Mike Fiers 2012-08-24 MIL PIT W 6-5 GS-7 ,W 6.2 5 3 3 2 10
9 Marco Estrada 2012-09-01 MIL PIT W 3-2 GS-7 7.0 4 1 1 1 10
10 Marco Estrada 2012-09-29 MIL HOU W 9-5 GS-8 ,W 8.0 4 0 0 1 11
11 Mike Fiers 2012-09-30 MIL HOU L 0-7 GS-6 ,L 6.0 6 5 5 1 10
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/23/2013.

The Brewers were one of just three MLB teams without a ten strikeout performance in 2013, joining the Twins and Orioles (both AL teams). The Tigers led all of baseball with 21 such games this season. The Giants and Mets led all NL teams with 10.

Yovani Gallardo's declining strikeout rate was one of the causes for concern in his disappointing 2013 campaign. He retired 144 batters with a K this season, down from 204 in 2012 and 200 or more in each of his last four years. His 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings were the lowest rate of his MLB career. He never struck out more than seven batters in a game this season.

Marco Estrada led all Brewers starters with 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2013, but that was also down from 9.3 a year ago. All told, Brewer pitchers ranked 14th in the National League with 1125 K's.

Infield defense was a major concern for the Brewers in 2013, and that may not change before this team takes the field again in 2014. Brewer pitchers could certainly help their own cause by recording a few more outs without putting the ball in play.