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John Smoltz Goes for 3,000 K’s Tonight

by November 30, 1999 @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Apr 22nd 2008 11:45AM by Will Brinson
Fifteen. That’s how many pitchers have struck out 3,000 batters in their careers as of this morning. By the time Wednesday rolls around though, it will probably be 16, as John Smoltz currently resides at 2,996, and needs to strike out just four Nationals (it sounds easy, no?) to reach the plateau.

The active pitchers currently already on the list include Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. No, I will not count Roger Clemens, even though bball-ref currently bolds his name.

Now, John Smoltz is a personal favorite player of mine, so I’m going to particularly enjoy the milestone — assuming it happens — tonight. But it actually should have occurred some years ago, were it not for his transition to closer.
Smoltz has averaged a beasty 174 strikeouts per season for the length of his career, a ridiculous number when you consider a) his rookie year he only made 12 starts and b) he was a closer for four consecutive seasons in which he totaled at most 85 strikeouts (which he did twice).

People could argue that the switch enabled him to last longer as a major league pitcher, but given his already ridiculous durability, anticipating a lengthy injury seems a bit presumptuous. And perhaps it’s a bit of the same to even consider congratulating him right now, but even if he decided to retire an hour before the first pitch of tonight’s game, he’s still a lock for the Hall of Fame.

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