Astros' Gerrit Cole Becomes 18th Player in MLB History with 300-Strikeout Season

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2019

Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole waves to the crowd as he leaves the mound after striking out Texas Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo for his 300th season strikeout during the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

Welcome to the history books, Gerrit Cole.  

The Houston Astros right-hander became just the 18th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to notch 300 strikeouts in a season during Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Texas Rangers, per ESPN.com. He struck out 10 batters while allowing just two earned runs and six hits in eight innings of work.

The 300th strikeout came in the sixth inning when he retired Shin-Soo Choo for his eighth punch-out of the game.

Houston Astros @astros

300 for @GerritCole45!! https://t.co/YoFt9qe06r

Houston Astros @astros

Witness history. @GerritCole45 x 300 #TakeItBack https://t.co/iCGh1Jf1mH

What makes the accomplishment all the more impressive is the fact he reached 300 strikeouts in just 198.1 innings. ESPN cited Elias Sports Bureau and noted only Randy Johnson (197.2 innings in 2001 as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks) reached 300 strikeouts in fewer innings.

Cole has been a strikeout force during his time with the Astros. He posted 276 last season, which was a career high before this year. The three-time All-Star never topped 202 during his five seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates before the National League Central team traded him.

Houston also won its 100th game of the season with Wednesday's victory, which is the most in the majors.

The one-two punch of Cole and Justin Verlander is a major reason the Astros are positioned for a deep playoff run. Verlander is only 17 strikeouts short of joining Cole in the 300 club this year.

Having Verlander and Cole atop the rotation will allow the Astros to potentially shorten any postseason series. They will likely pitch up to four combined games in any matchup, which will force opponents to beat one of them at least once in order to advance.