Fireworks were expected at Camden Yards this weekend with two of baseball’s highest-scoring teams, the Orioles and Detroit Tigers, duking it out in a measuring-stick series between two top American League teams.
The O's took two of three, and fans of the long ball were also winners as the teams combined for 14 homers.
The Orioles hit six of them and now lead the majors with 81 this season, six more than the Atlanta Braves.
But this post isn’t about how Chris Davis and Co. are clobbering pitches out of the ballpark. It is about the troubling trend that the Orioles are giving up nearly as many homers as they are hitting.
Only the Houston Astros, who hope to field a major league team by the year 2019, have given up more homers. The Orioles have given up just one fewer, leading the American League with 78 allowed.
This weekend didn't help matters, of course. Miguel Gonzalez allowed two homers in Friday night's wild comeback win. Jason Hammel surrendered three in a row before getting tossed in Saturday's loss (in that ugly fourth inning, the Orioles gave up a franchise-high four homers in an inning, including a Miguel Cabrera grand slam). Kevin Gausman pitched like the real deal Sunday, but the run he allowed was a Prince Fielder solo shot.
See the trend? Starters have struggled to keep the ball in the park.
Baltimore’s starters have allowed more homers -- 55 in 57 starts -- than any team in baseball. That is more than three times as many as the St. Louis Cardinals, who have allowed a league-low 17.
Chris Tillman, who will start Tuesday night against the Astros, has given up 14 home runs. Hammel has surrendered 11. Gonzalez has allowed eight and Freddy Garcia has seven in six starts.
The Orioles will be looking to take their fireworks to Houston this week. But hopefully their pitching staff, particularly the starters, can dampen things for the Astros bats and make it a one-sided show.