The time has come for baseballs to be tested for performance enhancing drugs. They’ve been behaving strangely this season, flying out of Major League parks with suspicious regularity. Open them up. Let’s see what’s inside.
Thus far there have been 2,646 homers hit in 74,996 plate appearances this season. Nine teams already have more than 100, led by the Seattle Mariners (126) and Minnesota Twins (125). The Baltimore Orioles lead MLB by allowing 127 homers this season.
As of June 1, MLB was already on pace to easily break its record of 6,105 homers hit in 2017. According to Forbes Magazine, after just the first 10 weeks of the season, 43 players were on pace to hit 35 or more home runs. The record is 27 set in 1996 and 2000.
Your honor, we rest our case.
Did you happen to notice what the Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies accomplished Monday in Philadelphia? It was bat-flipping fabulous.
The teams combined for a MLB-record 13 home runs in Arizona’s 13-8 win. They flew high. They flew deep. They soared out of Citizens Bank Park.
You knew it was going to be interesting when Arizona began the game with three straight homers. They would add five more before the plug was pulled.
The 13 homers surpassed the previous mark of 12 set in a couple of White Sox-Tigers games, the first in 1995 and then again in 2012. The National League record (11) has been done four times, the last on May 17, 1979 by the Cubs and Phillies in 10 innings at Wrigley Field.
How do you suppose Phillies’ starter Jerad Eickhoff felt watching Jarrod Dyson, Ketel Marte and David Peralta go snap, crackle and pop on him to start the game? It couldn’t have been the best thing for his confidence.
“I couldn’t adjust,” Eickhoff said. “I couldn’t adjust to everything. I’d do a thing here, wouldn’t adjust, it didn’t work out, make an adjustment here, it didn’t work. It was just kind of one of those nights. Every mistake I made they were able to put a pretty good swing on it. They were able to do that throughout the night. The most frustrating thing is just not keeping us in the game.
“Home runs happen. Solo home runs happen. What I get frustrated with is the free passes than the home runs,” Eickhoff said. “The multi-run home runs, those are the ones that kill you. The solos, I could care less about.”
Sure, kid. Tell us how you really feel.
The Diamondbacks kept it going this way: Eduardo Escobar homered from each side of the plate in consecutive at-bats, the first Arizona player ever to do that. Ildemaro Vargas also homered twice. Catcher Alex Avila had the other blast.
Eickhoff actually allowed two more homers before he was mercifully removed in the fourth inning, the Phillies already trailing 7-3. Each of the five hits Eickhoff allowed were homers.
“With the way we’ve been swinging the bats, you never know,” Dyson said. “We’re just trying to keep that going. It was just good to get it going. Leading off with a homer set the tone and guys came behind me and did the same thing.”
Scott Kingery hit two of the Phillies five homers.
“You can’t really explain it,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “I don’t care what kind of ballpark you’re in, whether it’s a good hitting ballpark or not, when you hit 13 home runs in a game, you’re doing a lot of things right.”
The Diamondbacks became the first team to hit three straight home runs to begin a game since they similarly touched up the great Max Scherzer in 2017. So if Scherzer can do it, how can you rip Eickhoff?
By the way, Eickhoff has allowed 16 home runs in 57 1/3 innings. He’s the first pitcher in franchise history to allow three straight to start the game. And the Phillies have had a lot of crappy pitchers in their history.
Jean Segura, Rhys Hoskins and Jay Bruce also homered for the Phillies, but that didn’t make their manager, Gabe Kapler, feel any better about things.
“These are not the type of baseball games that we like to be in,” Phillies manager Kapler said.
It’s been that type of season. The Diamondbacks did their thing one day after the Washington Nationals hit four homers in a row in the eighth inning at San Diego. And get this: Arizona is the first team in MLB history to hit eight home runs and allow eight (March 28 vs. the Dodgers) in one game in the same season and we haven’t even hit the Fourth of July yet.
“I didn’t know that [it was a record] until I got back in here, but for some reason the ball was just absolutely flying,” Kingery said. “It felt like every ball that went in the air was a home run. I’m not sure if that had to do with the weather, the humidity, I don’t know. It was just crazy out there.”
And you know what, there would have been 14 homers hit had a shot by the Phillies’ Nick Williams, originally ruled a home run, was changed to a double after video review.