Before the record run started in 2008, the mark had been 32,404 in 2001. Strikeouts totaled 29,937 in 1996 before breaking the 30,000 for the first time the following year. FINAL DAYS The Kansas City Royals host the Atlanta Braves in their first game since manager Ned Yost announced Monday he plans to retire at the end of the season. The 65-year-old Yost, who has been on a year-to-year contract, is the only manager to lead the Royals to back-to-back World Series, losing to the Giants in seven games in 2014 and beating the Mets in five the following year. Kansas City plays two games against Atlanta before finishing the season with a weekend series at home against Minnesota.
FINAL DAYS II The Texas Rangers begin their last homestand at their 25-year-old stadium, first known as The Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers are moving across the street into a $1 billion-plus air-conditioned stadium with a retractable roof. After Boston comes to town for a three-game series, Texas finishes the season with three games against the AL East champion New York Yankees. Edinson Vólquez and Ariel Jurado are expected to pitch Tuesday night against Boston, and Eduardo Rodríguez goes for his 19th win for the Red Sox.
GERRIT AND J.R. Houston ace Gerrit Cole could break the club record for strikeouts when the Astros play the first of two games against the Mariners in Seattle. The 29-year-old Cole fanned 10 in eight innings in a 3-2 victory over Texas on Wednesday, giving him 302 strikeouts on the year. The single-season Astros record is 313 Ks by J.R. Richard in 1979. Cole and teammate Justin Verlander are the front-runners for the AL Cy Young Award. Cole is 14-0 with a 1.87 ERA in his last 20 starts.
AWAITING WORD The Chicago Cubs could have an update on star third baseman Kris Bryant after he sprained his right ankle during Sunday's 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The 2016 NL MVP got hurt when he stepped hard on first base and tumbled to the ground while trying to beat out a double play in the third inning. He was scheduled for an MRI on Monday after X-rays taken at Wrigley Field were negative. Chicago has dropped six in a row, the last five by one run, heading into the opener of a three-game set at Pittsburgh.
BY THE HAMMER Noah Syndergaard makes his penultimate start of the season for the Mets, who are facing possible elimination with a home game against Miami. New York would be locked out of the postseason with a loss to the Marlins and wins by NL wild-card hopefuls Washington and Milwaukee. It also could be the second-to-last start for Syndergaard with the franchise given his uneven relationship with the front office. The right-hander also is slated to pitch Sunday's season finale.
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