DETROIT -- Coming into the season, the Tigers were expected to challenge hitting records. But with a third-inning strikeout by Max Scherzer in Sunday's game, the Tigers established a new American League record for collective strikeouts before the All-Star break.
The 2001 Yankees, with Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte, held the old mark of 710.
Scherzer struck out first baseman Eric Hosmer in the first inning and then got him again on five pitches in the fourth inning for the record. Scherzer also got Yuniesky Betancourt, Mike Moustakas and Jarrod Dyson before tallying strikeout No. 711.
With Scherzer on the mound it seemed like Detroit was a lock to get the record. His K's per nine innings rate of 11.35 began the day as tops in the AL. Also, the Tigers have had fewer than five strikeouts in only six games this season.
However, two of those games were against the Royals. And despite having the youngest roster in baseball, the Royals have struck out the least of any team in the Majors.
So even with Scherzer on the hill, it wasn't a guarantee.
Including Scherzer, the Tigers have two of the AL's top five pitchers in strikeouts and three of the top 30. Justin Verlander paces the league, having fanned 128 hitters. And 22-year-old rookie Drew Smyly's 10 K's on Friday against the Royals put him at 27th with 75.
The Tigers' bullpen unit ranks second in the AL with 262 strikeouts.