Monday, September 19, 2011

Blyleven's infamous home run record could fall

Bert Blyleven has been known for many different things in his life. He had one of the best curveballs in the history of baseball and he has always been a jokester. One of the longest running jokes for Blyleven has been his infamous record from 1986 when he gave up 50 home runs for the season. He broke Robin Roberts record of 46 home runs given up in 1956. One pitcher is making a run for Blyleven's punch-line as the 2011 season comes to a close.

Bronson Arroyo of the Cincinnati Reds is currently sitting at 44 home runs allowed and he is scheduled to make two more starts before the conclusion of the season. Arroyo currently finds himself tied for fifth on the list of home runs allowed in a season. He has been quickly moving up the list because he is allowing a home run ever .242 IP.

Top 5 Seasons for Home Runs Allowed
1.  Bert Blyleven 50 (1986)
2.  Jose Lima 48 (2000)
3(t).  Bert Blyleven 46 (1987)
3(t).  Robin Roberts 46 (1956)
5(t).  Bronson Arroyo 44 (2011)
5(t).  Jamie Moyer 44 (2004)

There are a few things that seem to be in the way of Bronson reaching this dubious home run mark. His next two games come in very favorable conditions for him to avoid giving up home runs.  One team has struggled to hit home runs all season long and no it is not the Minnesota Twins. The other game will be played in one of the toughest parks to hit the ball out of the park. These combined conditions could mean that Blyleven's record will be safe for another season.

Here is a closer look at the team's that are left to swing for the fences against Arroyo:

Wednesday, September 21st vs. Houston Astros
Arroyo vs. Houston (2011): 8.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 HR, .609 OPS
His next scheduled appearance is at home against the team with the worst record in baseball, the Houston Astros. Great American Ball Park has been known to give up some home runs but the Astros are runner-up for least amount of home runs hit in the 2011 season. Hunter Pence, the man tied for second on the team in home runs, now plays in Philadelphia. This leaves Carlos Lee and Clint Barmes along with a slew of other young players to harness their inner Babe Ruth.

Tuesday, September 27th @ New York Mets
Arroyo vs. New York (2011): 6.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 HR, .899 OPS 
The final start of the year for Mr. Arroyo will be played in the friendly confines of Citi Field, a park that is known for it's cavernous outfield fences. According to ESPN's Park Factors, Citi Field has surrendered the third least amount of home runs in 2011. The Mets are also near the bottom in all of baseball in the home run hitting department. With one home run on Sunday afternoon, the Mets had hit 102 home runs on the season, a number only higher than a handful of teams. The top home run hitter for the Mets on the season, Carlos Beltran, is currently a member of the San Francisco Giants. This leaves David Wright and Jason Bay to try and make the big apple rise above the outfield fence at Citi Field.

After looking at the match-ups discussed above, it would be quite the accomplishment if Arroyo were to allow six or seven home runs in his next two outings. The Reds along with the Mets and the Astros have little to play for in the next two weeks except for the pride of finishing the season on a good note. The rosters of all MLB teams have been expanded so there should be more than enough arms in the Cincinnati bullpen to relieve Arroyo if the going gets tough. It is hard to imagine that the coaching staff of the Reds would allow Arroyo to get close to the record.

Baseball is a funny game and this is the first chance for Blyleven's infamous home run record to fall in over a decade. Bert has put together quite the year by being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and by having his number retired by the Minnesota Twins. Taking away his record for long balls allowed in a season could be the icing on the cake.

But then what would he be left to joke about...

No comments: