With more than a month remaining in the regular season, the Baltimore Orioles have set the major league record for most home runs allowed. When Tampa Bay’s Austin Meadows homered off of Asher Wojciechowski yesterday, it was the 259th home run allowed by the Birds’ staff this season. That surpassed the record set in 2016 by the Cincinnati Reds.
How did the Orioles break this record after only 128 games? Balls are flying out of major league parks at an incredible pace this season. The ball is probably “juiced.” But the next most generous staff when it comes to yielding home runs, Seattle’s, has given up “only” 217.
Thus, there is no getting around the fact that Baltimore’s pitching is horrid.
David Hess is the biggest culprit. He has given up 28 bombs. And here’s the amazing part: Hess has spent a considerable portion of the season in the minor leagues. His 28 homers have come in only 75 innings.
But on a per inning basis, Dan Straily is even worse. He was touched up for 22 home runs in just 47.2 innings.
The New York Yankees deserve plenty of credit for the Orioles’ record. They contributed 61 of the 259 homers yielded, more than twice the number of the Boston Red Sox, who have hit the second most.
Yankee infielder Gleyber Torres blasted 13 home runs against Baltimore. In a normal year, that would be a season’s worth of homers for a decent middle infielder to post against the entire league.
With 34 games remaining, including series against the Red Sox and the Dodgers, the Orioles are very likely to give up more than 300 home runs. Indeed, they will probably shatter that mark.
But the Birds have also set at least one positive home run record. Earlier this season, they became the first team in major league history to hit two or more home runs in 10 consecutive games.
(Not to be outdone, two weeks later the Orioles’ staff set the record for most consecutive games giving up two or more home runs).
The Orioles also made positive history when Steve Wilkerson, who started the year as an infielder in the minor leagues and took over as the Orioles’ center fielder in midseason, became the first “position player” to record a big league save. He did it by retiring the Los Angeles Angels 1-2-3 in the 16th inning, with future Hall of Famer Albert Puljos making the final out. And Wilkerson did it with pitches clocked, on average, at 54 mph.
The Orioles’ record stands at 41-87. They are battling with the Detroit Tigers to avoid being the worst team in MLB.
Who says losing baseball has to be dull?