The Baltimore Orioles have tied the record for most home runs hit in the month of June, with a game still to play.
Christian Friedrich checked back at the runner on second base. Mark Trumbo stood 60.5 feet away, waiting for the pitch to come. Out of the stretch, Friedrich fired an 89 MPH fast ball to the inside of the plate. Trumbo readied and swung, watching the ball skyrocket into the left field bleachers, just above the Sycuan Casino sign.
As he rounded each base, Trumbo’s home run was not just his major league-leading 23rd home run of the year, but the 55th home run for Baltimore in the month of June, tying an MLB record. The Orioles tied the Oakland Athletics, who set the record in 1996.
The Athletics set the record over a 29-game span, while the Orioles did so in two fewer games. The chance to break the record is not over, as Baltimore will try to break the record for most home runs on June 30, in their series opener against the Seattle Mariners.
It will not come easy, as Taijuan Walker will be on the mound for the Mariners. Walker has a 3.45 ERA and 1.7 HR/9 in 2016.
“[We] might be able to break a Major League record for home runs,” Adam Jones told MLB.com. “But I look at it as just passing the baton. Just having good at-bats. There’s been good times and bad times, but over the last 20-30 games, we’ve all clicked together.”
Jones has been one of the constant contributors for the Orioles over the month of June, breaking out of a two-month slump in which he hit .234 with five home runs and 23 RBI. However, this month Jones is hitting .310 with 11 home runs and 26 RBI.
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First baseman Chris Davis, much like Jones, broke out of a two-month slump (.221, 10 home runs) by hitting .302 with nine home runs and 24 RBI in June.
Trumbo has been the Orioles’ most consistent power hitter over the entire season and added seven in the month of June. Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop and Matt Wieters have all hit five apiece, while Pedro Alvarez has six.
Baltimore has been a pleasant surprise in 2016, sitting at first in the American League East with a 47-30 record. The team sits 5.5 games ahead of both the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.
Much of their dominant season has come at the hands of the offense, which ranks fifth in runs scored (388) and fourth in average (.272). It is no surprise the team has run away with the most home runs in the majors at 123, nine more than the second place Blue Jays.
The Orioles average just over two home runs a game and could very well set the record for most home runs in June on Thursday. If the team wants to catch up to the most home runs in any single month (58), they will need to hit three on Thursday against Walker and the Mariners.
No matter how the team finishes the month of June, they have finally established themselves as contenders for the World Series in 2016.