The Baltimore Orioles are Major League Baseball’s new home run kings. Kind of.
On Wednesday night at Camden Yards, the Orioles surrendered their 258th homer of the season, tying the 2016 Cincinnati Reds for most round-trippers allowed by a team in a single campaign.
The record-tying homer came in the top of the third inning of Baltimore’s game against the Kansas City Royals, when Whit Merrifield sent a 1-1 fastball from Aaron Brooks over the left-center-field wall. The solo homer cut the Orioles’ lead to 3-1.
Though Tuesday night’s games, the Orioles were on pace to yield 333 home runs. With power numbers up across MLB, Baltimore isn’t the only team yielding long balls at a record rate. Through Monday’s games, the Mariners, Angels, Yankees and Phillies were all on pace to give up more dingers than the 2016 Reds.
Nearly a quarter of Baltimore’s historic 2019 total has come against the division-rival Yankees. In 19 games against New York, Birds hurlers surrendered 61 home runs, shattering the mark for most homers allowed to one team in a single season.
This season, 3.7% of all MLB plate appearances have resulted in homers, up from 3.0% in 2018. Compared to 2014, when the leaguewide rate was 2.3%, home runs have increased by roughly 60%. If the current rate holds through the rest of 2019, it would break the single-season record of 3.3%, set during the 2017 campaign.
The rebuilding Orioles began play Tuesday in last place in the American League East, owners of a 39-86 record that was second-worst in the majors. Their team ERA of 5.98 was the highest in baseball by almost half a run.
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