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Baseball on pace for lowest batting average since 1972

MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 05: Jonathan Villar #5 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a double in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on July 5, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — The batting average for the major leagues is on track for its lowest finish in nearly a half-century.

This comes despite slightly more robust offense of late — hits topping strikeouts the last two months.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there were 7,134 hits and 6,818 strikeouts in August. That left the season totals at 34,350 hits and 34,103 strikeouts, the first time this season hits led at the end of a full month.

The season’s batting average rose one point during August to .249. Unless it goes up to at least .251 it would be the lowest since .244 in 1972.

Strikeouts topped hits in April (6,656 to 6,360) and June (6,776 to 6,640) while hits also exceeded strikeouts in May (7,033 to 6,971) and July (6,546 hits to 6,195). Before this year, the previous low differential for a full month was in April 2017, when there were 138 more hits than strikeouts.

Strikeouts per game averaged 16.47 in August, down from 16.6 in July, 16.9 in June, 16.75 in May and 17.5 in April, which was a record for a full calendar month. Strikeouts project to 40,964, which would be the 11th consecutive season setting a record, topping last year’s 40,104. The total was 32,884 in 2008.

There were 989 home runs in 414 games last month, an average of 2.39 that raised the season average to 2.31. The average was 2.54 through August last year, just above the record-setting final figure of 2.51.

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