The Twins hit 11 home runs in a doubleheader Saturday — including eight in the second-game onslaught against the Orioles.
Baltimore’s gory pitching staff was certainly a prime culprit, and a good amount of credit goes to the Twins batters for putting a bunch of good swings on hittable pitches.
But the power surge — putting the Twins on pace to hit almost 300 home runs for the season, which would demolish the team record of 225 set in 1963 — is also part of a leaguewide trend.
Through Saturday’s games, MLB teams were on pace to combine for 6,440 home runs in 2019. That would smash the record of 6,105 hit in 2017, a year in which analysis suggested changes to the baseball were responsible for the increase.
Robert Arthur of Baseball Prospectus did some of that initial research in 2017, and he did more of the same early in 2019 — and once again he found that the aerodynamics of baseballs across the league have changed. Last season, just 5,585 home runs were hit.
The sample size this season is pretty small, with most teams having played around 21 games of a 162-game schedule entering Sunday. But it bears watching, particularly if the Twins keep feasting even when they don’t play the Orioles.
• Michael Winger of the Clippers reportedly pulled out of consideration for the Wolves’ vacant president of basketball operations job, which is too bad because he seemed like an excellent candidate.
The job comes with plenty of challenges. The Wolves aren’t back into full rebuilding mode, but it’s going to be multiple years until they have a chance to be truly competitive.
• The Gophers and athletic director Mark Coyle were smart to reduce prices for some of the least expensive season tickets in men’s basketball and hockey for next season.
Not only is it good public relations, but it also reflects the two-tiered reality of attending live sports. Those who are willing to pay for the best seats tend to be less concerned about price than the experience, while a price reduction at other levels carries more meaning for folks.
• The Wild picked a bad year to miss the playoffs given how wide open the Western Conference has proved to be.
Wild card Colorado already has knocked off Calgary, while wild card Dallas has a 3-2 lead on Nashville. It’s possible that lower seeds will win all four first-round series in the West. Combine that with Columbus’ huge upset sweep of Tampa Bay in the East and the Stanley Cup is truly up for grabs.
• The Nets led the 76ers 67-61 in the third quarter Saturday when Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley and Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler were ejected for their roles in a scuffle.
It might have seemed like a good trade for the Nets, but the 76ers rallied for a 112-108 victory to take a commanding 3-1 lead in that series. Tensions didn’t end there, though: Nets GM Sean Marks was suspended one game for entering the referees’ locker room postgame.
• Speaking of composure, Minnesota United finished its 4-3 loss at Toronto on Friday playing with just nine men after a pair of late red cards. They might not have influenced the outcome of the match, but that’s not a good look.