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NEW YORK (AP) — The batting average for the major

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    April 2, 2019 3:28 AM BST
    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 DJ LeMahieu Jersey , 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 http://www.rockiesfanproshop.com/authentic-chad-bettis-jersey ,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 Todd Helton Jersey , 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 http://www.rockiesfanproshop.com/authentic-chad-bettis-jersey ,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. The New York Yankees aren't going to be forced to pay Major League Baseball's luxury tax for the first time ever.According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), the Bronx Bombers are on pace to finish below the $197 million payroll threshold this season, meaning they won't have to pay the tax for the first time since it was instituted in 2003. They are still spending a significant amount of money with the luxury tax payroll up from $178.8 million at the start of the season to $192.1 million, but it is low enough to avoid the penalty.The AP noted the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals are the only teams on pace to pay the tax in 2018.The ability to avoid the luxury tax penalty also has implications for the upcoming offseason, as the report pointed out the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers will each reset their base tax rates from 50 percent of their total over the threshold to just 20 percent by avoiding it this year.That figures to put both big-market powers in ideal positions to add to their already talented rosters during free agency.New York's big splash this offseason was trading forGiancarloStanton to play alongside Aaron Judge, who has missed significant time with a fractured wrist. It is nine games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East but two games ahead of the Oakland Athletics for the first wild-card spot and a comfortable eight games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays.While the division is essentially out of reach at this point Charlie Blackmon Jersey , the Yankees can at least take solace knowing they are headed to the playoffs and won't have to worry about paying the luxury tax.That, in turn, could lead to some marquee additions next offseason with less tax concerns and a threshold that is increasing to $206 million.