The 2019 Baltimore Orioles pitching staff has been historically bad and entered the record books, once again, on Thursday night.
It was only a matter of time. The 2019 Baltimore Orioles have finally cemented their place in Major League Baseball history, breaking the league record for most home runs given up by a pitching staff in one season.
With an Austin Meadows home run off Orioles starting pitcher Asher Wojciechowski in the top of the third inning of Thursday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles surpassed the 2016 Cincinnati Reds for sole possession of the home run record. The new MLB record stands at 259 and counting.
It wouldn’t be Baltimore Orioles baseball if they didn’t achieve this feat in historic fashion. It took this year’s staff just 128 games to set the record. There are still 34 games remaining on the schedule to extend this record the franchise and its fanbase rather not be associated with.
You can blame it on juiced baseballs, the long ball revolution, or a lack of pitching talent, but does it matter? As of August 22nd, the Seattle Mariners (217), New York Yankees (210), Los Angeles Angels (208), and Philadelphia Phillies (204) have all surrendered at least 200 home runs with more than a month left to go in the regular season. Just eight teams gave up more than 200 long balls in 2018, while more than two-thirds of the league are likely to surpass this mark in 2019.
Thirty-seven pitchers (including position players) have climbed the mound for the Baltimore Orioles this year, with all but four (Hunter Harvey, Jesus Sucre, Chandler Shepherd, Nate Karns) serving up at least one home run.
So, who have been the biggest contributors to this historic season? David Hess leads the way with 28 home run runs allowed, followed by Dylan Bundy (25), Dan Straily (22), Gabriel Ynoa (21), and John Means (16). Hess accomplished his landmark feat in just 75 innings, while Dan Straily put Hess to shame by allowing his 22 home runs across 47.2 innings in what was one of the worst first-half pitching performances in franchise history (possibly in all of baseball).
What makes the record sting just a little more is the fact that 61 of the 259 (and counting) home runs allowed have come from New York Yankees hitters. Gleyber Torres tagged 13 of those himself, because the Orioles still haven’t figured out that walking him is a possibility. The next closest team total is 28 off the bat of Boston Red Sox hitters, while Minnesota hitters sent 23 balls into the stands in just six contests.
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The Orioles may not be the only team to surpass Cincinnati’s 2016 mark of 258 home runs allowed, but they are the first and will surely end the year with the most and still in control of the record.
Wherever the 2019 Baltimore Orioles end up, just remember, it has to get better. To leave this on a positive note, check out some low home run totals from many of the top pitching prospects in the system.
- LHP Keegan Akin– 9 allowed in 100.2 IP (with the juiced Triple-A baseball)
- LHP Zac Lowther– 8 allowed in 136 IP
- LHP Alex Wells– 6 allowed in 123.2 IP
- RHP Michael Baumann– 0 allowed in 58 IP (Double-A only)
- LHP DL Hall– 3 allowed in 80.2 IP
- RHP Grayson Rodriguez– 3 allowed in 83.1 IP
Among the remaining series left on the Orioles schedules, Baltimore pitchers still have to go up against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, and Seattle Mariners down the stretch. Is 300 home runs a possibility? Very much so.