From the "Small Morale Victories" department, the Yankees did set a new team record in last night's game as their playoff chances were whittled down to the smallest possible speck of existence. The 11 combined strikeouts by the pitching staff gave them 1,319 on the year, breaking the previous team record that was set 2 seasons ago. That 1,319 total is good for 4th most in MLB this season, and the 551 that have come from the bullpen is the most in MLB by over 30. The Yanks have 3 relief pitchers in the top 20 in K rate this year: Dellin Betances at 4 (39.6%), David Robertson at 10 (37.0%), and Shawn Kelley at 20 (30.7%). That's really impressive. But it's not just the relievers. They've gotten plenty of punchouts from their starters as well. Masahiro Tanaka still boasts a 26.3% K rate, Shane Greene has struck out over 1 batter per inning, CC Sabathia was doing the same before he got hurt, and Brandon McCarthy, David Phelps, and Michael Pineda have all turned in some very good strikeout nights.
It's another example of the long-running "the pitching rocks and the offense sucks" storyline, which does take some of the fun out of the record. But it's the best testament yet to how good the staff has been and a testament to the job Larry Rothschild has done as pitching coach. The last 2 team records in this department have come in the last 3 seasons under his watch. That can't be a coincidence. Whether we're talking pitchers who were already here, homegrown guys who've gotten the call up, or outsiders brought in through trades and free agency, they've all found a way to unlock more swing-and-miss stuff under Rothschild and that shouldn't go unnoticed.
Kudos to Rothschild for the system he's preaching to his staff and kudos to all the pitchers who contributed to this record with their performance. A job well done by all.