MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins are hitting a lot of bombas this year, if you haven’t noticed. The Twins are clobbering home runs at a pace that you just don’t see in Major League Baseball — even with long balls en vogue around the league, the Mighty Twins stand out.
Jason Castro connected with a Shane Bieber pitch in the fifth inning on Friday at Target Field, sending it over the wall for home run No. 225 on the season to tie the franchise record set in 1963. The Twins were on pace to shatter that mark, of course, since the month of August was just one week old when they drew within one bomba of the all-time mark.
Eddie Rosario did the honors in the sixth inning, driving a ball deep into the night to set the franchise single-season home run record, when his bomba landed in the seats upstairs in right-center field in a 6-2 loss to the Indians that left the Twins and Cleveland tied for the AL Central lead.
It’s not just the franchise home run record we’re talking about here. The Twins also are on pace to destroy the Major League record for homers hit by a team. They entered Thursday’s game having hit 21 more round-trippers than the second-place Yankees (203). The Twins, as a team, will go deep 318 times this season, if they hold their current pace through the end of September. In mid-April, that’s a funny joke. In mid-August, it’s a distinct possibility.
The previous Major League record was 267 homers set by the Yankees all the way back in their glory days in 2018.
That’s an INCREDIBLE improvement on what was previously an impressive record.
But of course, some people will contend that the Twins’ home run numbers are goosed because the ball they’re playing with allegedly is juiced.
One piece of evidence in favor of that theory: Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings, just set a new franchise high-water mark for home runs, according to the team’s communications department. The Red Wings have hit 155 bombas, eclipsing the previous mark set in 1959. (The International League switch to the Major League baseball this year, and big flies have skyrocketed; there’s your smoking gun.)
And according to Elias Sports, the 2019 Twins could be flirting with Murderer’s Row – the 1927 Yankees.
Sarah Langs and Buster Olney pointed out that the Twins lead the Majors in Home Run Differential, as in they out-homer their opponents by a wider margin than any other team. As of Thursday, they’d allowed 146 homers, and their homer gap was a plus-78. That’s in 115 games, which, if you multiply the per-game rate to fit a 162-game season, would end up with a plus-109 for a full year. The Bath Ruth-Lou Gehrig Yankees finished their famous year in 1927 with a plus-116 Home Run Differential, Olney tweeted. So, the Twins have fallen off the pace slightly, and now they could be without Nelson Cruz for a while, but the point is worth underscoring: that’s obviously some powerful company.
Related listening: We talked about that historic home run prowess on the SKOR North Twins Show: