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Cubs hitters first to 300 strikeouts

K's piling up after 8 more in Monday's win

CHICAGO -- The Cubs batters were the first Major League team to reach 300 strikeouts this season, doing so in the first 30 games. That's not a good pace, but general manager Jed Hoyer and manager Joe Maddon chalk up the numbers to inexperience by the young hitters.

On Monday night, Chicago hitters combined to fan eight times in a 4-3 win over the Mets. It's only the third time in the last 12 games the Cubs haven't totaled double-digit strikeouts.

"We're getting on base better, we're working better at-bats," Hoyer said Monday. "I do feel our strikeouts are different than they have been in the past. I think we're really close to the National League leaders in pitches per plate appearance. The quality of the at-bat is better.

"I think a lot of our high strikeout percentages is our young guys. It's been Jorge [Soler], it's been Addison [Russell], it's been Kris [Bryant]. That's just the nature of the beast when you're breaking in young right-handed hitters."

Bryant did belt his first home run at Wrigley Field on Monday. The Cubs are hoping to look forward to more of that than adding up K's.

"I think it'll change as [the young players] get acclimated to the big leagues," Hoyer said. "Do we have to cut down and be more competitive with guys in scoring position? Of course, but that'll come."

Maddon said the reason for the high strikeout numbers is simple. The players are chasing pitches out of the strike zone.

"I think by the end of the season, you'll see a lot of progress and these guys not chasing that slider or curveball in the dirt," Maddon said. "Right now we are, and that's why the strikeouts are piling up."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
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