Wild Week of Home Runs
Those who weren’t paying attention might have missed Major League Baseball’s wild week of home runs. The baseball is flying out of the ballpark at a record pace. It’s no secret that home runs make the games more exciting. This brings out more fans to the ballparks.
The question about the baseball being juiced or wound a little tighter has been discussed at length this season. Rawlings is the company that makes all the baseballs used in all Major League games, and Major League Baseball owns Rawlings. So one can put two and two together.
The week of July 22nd was tremendous in terms of overall home runs. In total, there were 268 hit by all the teams combined during this one week. But even more impressive was the combined number in individual games.
Yankees at Twins
No series displayed more power than when the New York Yankees visited the Minnesota Twins for a three-game series starting on July 22nd. The Twins, as a team, are leading all of baseball with 205 home runs as of Monday. The Yankees are tied for second with 177 home runs.
The Yankees and Twins combined to hit 20 during the series, leading to a combined 57 runs. After the opening game of the series had eight home runs, the next two only had six in each game.
On July 25th The Twins continued this trend with six home runs combined when they played at the Chicago White Sox. On July 27th, the Tampa Bay Rays visited the Toronto Blue Jays and combined to hit eight home runs. During a two-game stretch with the Atlanta Braves traveling to play the Philadelphia Phillies, there were two straight games with six. Fans attending these games were undoubtedly entertained.
The Chicago Cubs were on the road playing the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs pulled off an amazing feat of power. During the Saturday game and continuing into the Sunday game, the Cubs had a string of scoring 19 straight runs via home runs.
Paul Goldschmidt and Albert Pujols
Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals began an impressive run of power, hitting a home run in six consecutive games. The major league record is eight, and it was accomplished by three different players. Ken Griffey, Jr. of the Seattle Mariners is the most recent player to accomplish this, doing so in 1993. The other two players were Don Mattingly of the Yankees in 1987 and Dale Long for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1956.
Albert Pujols not only leads all active players with the most home runs but is also sixth all-time. He hit number 650 on Sunday and is now only 10 away from catching Willie Mays for fifth all time. It’s possible the future Hall of Famer can catch Mays this season. Certainly Pujols will pass Mays if he continues to play beyond this season.
Three Homer Games and Grand Slams
The holy grail of single-game home runs by a player is four. This has happened 18 times in Major League history. Last week we had a string of four straight days of a player hitting three in a game.
Robinson Cano of the New York Mets started it off on July 23rd when the San Diego Padres visited Citi Field. The next day, Paul DeJong of the Cardinals hit his three in Pittsburgh. Next up was Nelson Cruz when the Twins visited the Chicago White Sox and, finally, at Fenway Park Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox hit his three against the Yankees.
The Grand Slam is perhaps one of the most exciting happenings in a baseball game. With four runs scored with this home run, it does greatly impact the score and the feel of the game. Last week we saw nine grand slams hit. A grand slam used to be a rare occurrence. Yet this past Saturday we saw four hit in one day.
This has truly been the year of the home run. The 2019 season is almost certain to break the home run record. It has been a fun year to watch the ball fly out of the ballpark. As Greg Maddux famously said in a commercial, “Chicks dig the long ball.”
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