The Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff set a new record for combined strikeouts in a single season when James Shields struck out J.P. Arencibia on Friday night. With 1,267 strikeouts the combined efforts of the starting pitchers and the bullpen surpassed the old record of 1,266, held by the 2011 New York Yankees.
The Rays also passed the 2001 Boston Red Sox (1,259) and the 2009 Yankees (1,260) on their way to the record. Manager Joe Maddon credited the record not just to the power of the pitching staff, but their health. As he told MLB.com:
"It's primarily been the same group of guys out there this year, except we've had a couple of additions, but it also speaks to a power bullpen, too. They've been outrageous in their contribution. So I think it speaks to power pitching and to health throughout the entire group. ... In order to do that, you have to have power from both [starters and relievers]."
With 12 games left in the season the Rays are currently 5.5 games out of the two AL Wild Cards, giving them a slim window to make the playoffs. The 2001 Yankees made it all the way to the world series, where they lost a seven-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.