Orioles fans anticipated a power surge in the lineup in 2011. The offseason acquisitions of Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds gave the Birds three players who had hit 30 or more home runs a combined 14 times. Here’s how things have played out this season with 11 games still remaining.
Reynolds became the Orioles’ first 30-home run hitter since Aubrey Huff stroked 32 in 2008. Overall, only 15 O’s players have recorded 30-homer seasons, led by Eddie Murray who did it five times. Reynolds’ 34 home runs in 2011 have already matched Miguel Tejada’s 34 in 2004. Reynolds’ next home run would give him the most for an O’s player since Albert Belle hit 37 in 1999, which ranks in the Orioles’ all-time top 10 for homers in a season.
J.J. Hardy already has established a career high for home runs with 27 in 2011. Three more homers from Hardy would give the Birds two players with 30 or more home runs for only the fifth time in team history. The previous pairs to do it are: Brady Anderson (50) and Rafael Palmeiro (39) in 1996; Larry Sheets (31) and Eddie Murray (30) in 1987; Boog Powell (37) and Frank Robinson (32) in 1969; and Robinson (49) and Powell (34) in 1966.
Overall, six Orioles players have established career-high home run totals in 2011. In addition to Hardy, there’s Adam Jones (23), Matt Wieters (20), Robert Andino (3), Blake Davis (1) and Zach Britton (1). Davis and Britton both hit their first career home runs this season.
It’s been a big year for Eutaw Street home runs as four players have reached the walkway in right field on the fly. Luke Scott was the first to do so in 2011 with a 426-foot home run. In the process, he tied Palmeiro for the most Eutaw Street home runs with five.
Meanwhile, Lance Berkman of the Cardinals hit the longest Eutaw Street home run in Camden Yards history this year. Berkman’s 444-foot shot on June 30 went one foot farther than the previous long, Henry Rodriguez’s 443-foot homer in 1997.
Carlos Santana (July 17) and Nick Swisher (Aug. 26) also reached Eutaw Street in 2011 bringing the total number of Eutaw Street home runs to 57. The most Eutaw Street home runs hit in a single season was eight in 2008. Both Scott and Berkman had Eutaw Street home runs that year as well.
Matthew Taylor blogs about the Orioles at Roar from 34. His ruminations about the Birds appear as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.