The Yankees bludgeoned the Orioles in 2019 like no other team has battered another in major league history. New York mashed a record number of home runs against Baltimore this season, power so prolific that it stood out even in the year of the home run.
Let’s take a look at some unreal stats from this ridiculously one-sided matchup.
1) SIXTY ONE home runs
These two teams played 19 games against one another, and the Yankees swatted 61 balls over the fence. The old record was 48 home runs, by the 1956 Yankees against the Kansas City A’s, in 22 games. This year’s Bronx Bombers, in three fewer games against their opponent, obliterated that record by 27 percent!
2) Gleyber and Gehrig
Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres took special advantage of Baltimore in 2019, with half of his home runs against one team! In games vs. teams not named the Orioles, Torres is hitting an almost perfectly average .261/.326/.420, roughly a 98 OPS+, with 13 home runs in 92 games. But against Baltimore, Torres has 13 home runs in 18 games while hitting .394/.467/1.045, a 285 OPS+.285!
The only player with more home runs against a single team in one season is another Yankee, Lou Gehrig in 1936 against the Indians.
3) Perfect power matchup
The 2018 Yankees set a major league record by hitting 267 home runs, and though they rank second in dingers this season New York is still poised to blow by that mark. The Orioles meanwhile have already allowed 250 home runs in 2019, eight shy of the record set by the 2016 Reds. Baltimore still has 41 games remaining this season. Even if we remove the Yankees games altogether, these Orioles allow 1.85 home runs per game, which would also smash the previous record (1.59).
That bringing these two teams together produced the most homers of any matchup in history is no surprise.
4) A full cast of characters
A whopping 17 different Yankees hit home runs agains the Orioles this season. Even Troy Tulowitzki, and he retired in July. Nine different Yankees hit at least three homers against Baltimore. If it wasn’t for Torres, we’d surely be talking more about Gary Sanchez’s 10 home runs against the Orioles in 2019, in just 14 games.
Not to be outdone, 19 different Orioles pitchers allowed home runs to Yankees batters this season, including 15 pitchers allowing multiple home runs. But all hail Jimmy Yacabonis, who faced the Yankees three times for five total innings and didn’t allow a single home run. What a legend.
5) Poor, poor David Hess
Orioles right-hander David Hess started three games against the Yankees this year, and pitched three times in relief. In his 20 innings against New York in 2019, Hess has surrendered 13 home runs, good for an .802 slugging percentage against.
But Hess will always have March 28. That’s the one time he faced New York this season without allowing a home run. It was opening day, too, so Hess must have felt on top of the world with his two scoreless innings under his belt instead of the 7.44 ERA he has now, the worst ERA in baseball among pitchers with at least 50 innings.
Hess will always be able to fondly tell his grandchildren about those two scoreless frames.
6) Sweet, sweet Camden
The Yankees were especially cruel against the Orioles in Baltimore, with 43 home runs in 10 games at Camden Yards. The Orioles in those 10 home games scored 44 total runs. New York won all 10 road games, to no surprise.
But hitting in Baltimore has been a specialty for all Orioles opponents in 2019, scoring seven runs per game while hitting .287/.353/.553. The Yankees just took it several steps further, hitting a robust .320/.398/.725 at Camden Yards while scoring 9.5 runs per contest.
7) Hitting Cruz missiles
Hitting 61 home runs in 19 games is very much a team effort. Twelve different Yankees totaled at least 20 plate appearances against the Orioles, and 11 of them slugged over .500. The only one in that group under .500 is Aaron Judge, because of course.
As a team in 2019, the Yankees hit a ridiculous .303/.386/.632. Nelson Cruz this season is hitting .294/.384/.650. The Yankees against the Orioles basically hit like a team of Nelson Cruzes. Imagine that.
8) Orioles playing doormat
Hard to believe, but the Orioles opened the 2019 season in Yankee Stadium and were 2-1. Then the hammer dropped, with the Yankees winning the next 16 games. Last year the Orioles lost 115 games, and dropped 16 of 19 games to the AL East champion Red Sox, who won two-thirds of their games and went on to win the World Series. The difference in the standings was so start that this photo from Fenway Park was iconic not for the fine defensive play but rather for the standings on the Green Monster behind it.
This year Baltimore will lose in the triple-digits again, and New York was 17-2 against them. The Yankees are have won roughly two-thirds of their games, and will win the AL East. Now we just need another Andrew Benintendi catch in late September to give us another standings visual.