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Giants pitchers piling up on strikeouts

Giants pitchers piling up strikeouts

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitchers led the Major Leagues in strikeouts entering Wednesday, a distinction some staffs might consider a status symbol. But the Giants themselves were relatively unimpressed.

"I'd rather lead the league in wins," said left-hander Jack Taschner, who had contributed six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings to San Francisco's total of 119.

Starters Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez ranked second and third in the National League with 22 and 21 strikeouts, respectively. Matt Cain has averaged nearly a strikeout an inning, amassing 15 in 16 2/3 innings.

"You're talking about three guys in your rotation who are going to hammer out some strikeouts," Taschner said, explaining the Giants' big numbers.

"It looks good. There's times it's nice to know you can strike out guys when you need to," Cain said.

But Cain also noted that all these strikeouts can mean something ominous:

"That our pitch count is high sometimes," he said. "We've been a little bit bad about getting further into the game to save these bullpen guys. It's something we've got to do, get into the seventh, get to where we have to use only two [relievers] a game."

Indeed, Giants starters have pitched into the seventh inning only three times in the first 15 games.

"If you strike out guys on four pitches, it's no big deal," Cain said. "But if you're taking five, six, seven pitches to strike somebody out, that starts to get really taxing."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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