Hits top strikeouts in MLB in May, reversing trend in April

NEW YORK (AP) — Hits exceeded strikeouts across Major League Baseball in May after a historic number of whiffs in April.

This marks a return to form. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there were 7,033 hits and 6,971 strikeouts in May.

Strikeouts had topped hits in a full month for the first time in April, when then there were 6,656 strikeouts and 6,360 hits. The previous low differential was in April 2017, when there were 138 more hits than strikeouts.

Strikeouts per game dropped to 16.75 in May from 17.5 in April, a record for a full calendar month. Strikeouts have set a record for 10 consecutive seasons, and this year’s rate projects to 41,633. That would shatter last year’s mark of 40,104; the total was 32,884 in 2008.

Arizona batters have 131 more strikeouts than hits this season while Texas is at 119 and San Diego at 117. Boston has the best differential, with 97 more strikeouts than hits, followed by Atlanta (81) and Detroit (78).

Contact improved slightly with better weather. Thus far this season, 32 percent of 63,868 plate appearances ended without a batted ball in play: 14,306 strikeouts, 5,557 walks, 626 hit batters and 12 catcher’s interference calls. That is down from 33 percent through April.

There have been 1,888 home runs in 835 games, an average of 2.26. That represents a drop from 2.43 last year through May, when where there were 1,923 in 791 games.

The average climbed from 1.90 before the 2015 All-Star break to 2.17 in the second half that year, then rose to 2.31 in 2016 and a record 2.51 last season.