That would be the 2012 Royals, who combined for 535 punchouts with two more in Wednesday's 1-0 loss to the Tigers in the season finale. Seven K's over the previous two games by the Kansas City relievers vaulted them past the 2001 Indians, who struck out 527 batters during that campaign.
It's a pretty great way to cap a fine season for the Royals' relievers.
"For us, as a bullpen, it seems like it's been a really long year. It seems like we were out there every single day," reliever Tim Collins said. "It's pretty awesome, with such a young group, that we can go out and get a record such as the most strikeouts of all time for the American League. I think that's just a testament to how hard our guys work and the work that we put in day in and day out. We're just ready to go every day, and go out there and do our job."
Entering Wednesday, the Royals boasted five of the top 27 strikeout relievers in the league, with Collins leading the AL with 93 strikeouts and Greg Holland third with 91. Kelvin Herrera ranked 13th with 77 K's, Aaron Crow was 24th with 65 and Louis Coleman ranked 27th with 63 punchouts.
"That's from being out there a lot. Obviously the more opportunities you get, the more strikeouts you may have," Collins said. "Guys like Kelvin and Crow and Greg, those guys are out there every single day."