One reason the Cubs have been so successful is that opponents are having trouble making contact against Chicago pitchers. Through Sunday righthander Kerry Wood (above) led all big league starters with 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings, while righty setup man Kyle Farnsworth was tops among relievers with 15.2. As a team the Cubs led the majors with 503 strikeouts in 484 innings, a rate of 9.4 per nine innings. At that pace they would fan 1,523 batters for the season, breaking the big league record of 1,245 set by the 1996 Braves. Here are the staffs that had whiffed the most batters this season, with the starter and reliever who led each team in strikeout ratio (minimum 25 innings for relievers).
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