Kerry Wood 20 Strikeout Game

How Dominant Was Kerry Wood's 20 Strikeout Game?


Kerry WoodKerry Wood

May 11, 1998
Kerry Wood strikes out 13 Diamondbacks in his next start after striking out 20 Astros.  The 33
strikeouts in 2 consecutive is a new MLB record for total strikeouts in 2 consecutive starts.

The record of 32 strikeouts had been accomplished 4 times previously  by Luis Tiant (1968), Nolan Ryan (1974), Dwight Gooden (1984) & Randy Johnson (1997)


Cubs Trivia questions about this game
Who was the Catcher for Kerry Wood's 20 Strikeout Game?
Which Future Cub got the only hit against Kerry Wood?
Who is the future Cub that struct out 3 times in this game?


Kerry Wood's 20 strikeout game is certainly one of the biggest things that have happened in my liftime watching the Chicago Cubs.

Wood was just 20 years old at the time and this was only his 5th major league start. This game put him on a path to complete the 1998 season as National League Rookie of the Year and help lead the the Cubs to a playoff appearance.

So, how dominant was this performance? Well, Wood faced 29 batters in the game, striking out 20 with only 9 batters putting the ball in play (correction, only 8, Wood hit Craig Biggio with a pitch).


2nd inning
Dave Clark-left-handed batter flies out to center field. Clark played with the Cubs in 1997


3rd inning
Ricky Gutierrez collected the only hit off Wood with an infield single, that if memory serves was a very close play that could've had him called out (imagine if Kerry Wood's 20 strikeout performance were also a no-hitter).

Shane Reynolds, Wood's opposing pitcher, was able to successfully sacrifice bunt Gutierrez to second base. So, he wasn't really trying to get a hit. It should be pointed out that Reynolds pitched a great game against the Cubs going the full 8 innnings (The Cubs did not bat in the ninth inning after already securing a 2-0 victory). Reynolds also struct out 10 Cubs.

Craig Biggio hit a ground ball to shortstop both in the 3rd inning and in the ninth inning.


4th inning
Derek Bell hit a flyout to short right field. Being a right-handed hitter, he was well behind what was likely a Kerry Wood fastball.


6th inning
Brad Ausmus, a very difficult batter to strikeout throughout his career, hit a ground ball out to second base.    
Craig Biggio got hit by a pitch

Derek Bell popped out in foul territory near the first base line.


9th inning
Craig Biggio hit his second ground out to shortstop

Kerry Wood struck out at least one batter each inning and also struck out all 10 Astros batters that he faced at least once.

12 of the 20 strikeouts were swing and miss strikeouts while 8 were strikeouts where the Astros batter was caught looking at strike three. Here is a listing below to show each by inning.


  • 1st inning 2 swinging, 1 looking
  • 2nd inning 2 swinging
  • 3rd inning 1 swinging
  • 4th inning 2 looking
  • 5th inning 3 looking
  • 6th inning 1 looking
  • 7th inning 3 swinging
  • 8th inning 2 swinging 1 looking
  • 9th inning 2 swinging

one of the more impressive things about Kerry Wood's performance was that the Astros middle of the order (3/4 and 5 hitters) went a combined 0 for 9 with 9 strikeouts. One of these middle of the order Astros hitters later joined the Cubs and was involved in an incident that leaves him forever noted in big moments in Cubs history. Who was this former Astro hitter that struck out 3 times against Kerry wood in 1998 that later joined the Chicago Cubs?



Kerry Wood 20 Strikeout Game Box Score-Baseball Reference 


Who was the Cubs catcher that caught Kerry Wood's 20 strikeout game?
Sandy Martinez
Which future Cub (after 1998) got the only hit off Kerry Wood in this game?
Ricky Gutierrez
Which future Cubs outfielder who also has a unique place in Chicago Cubs history went 0 for 3 with 3 strikeouts?
Moises Alou

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