PHOENIX -- It was anticipated that the newly installed humidor would gently curtail the number of home runs hit at Chase Field this season. It has.Manager Torey Lovullo and players say they have noticed that some balls have not traveled as far this season, especially early in the year. At
PHOENIX -- It was anticipated that the newly installed humidor would gently curtail the number of home runs hit at Chase Field this season. It has.
Manager Torey Lovullo and players say they have noticed that some balls have not traveled as far this season, especially early in the year. At the same time, they have chosen not to make even a small deal about it.
"There is probably data that will show all sorts of different things, but a couple of main bullet points I got -- the exit velocity [off the bat] is down a tick, less than a half-mile an hour," Lovullo said, calling it about two-tenths of one mile an hour.
"The home runs per fly ball are down, very noticeably. The 94-, 96-mile-an-hour exit-velocity home runs are no longer a part of what is going on here, no doubt about it. The ball to the corners, the lines, seems to be very similar. If you hit it, it is going to go.
"There have been some balls that have been hit in the middle of the diamond that may be a small difference, but there are also given days when somebody will back up a baseball that you think is going to be run down that didn't support anything my eyes were telling me.
"It's been a little bit inconsistent. Some days it goes and some days it doesn't. Is that the baseball? Is that the humidor? Is that the air? Is that the open-closed [roof]? I don't know."
The D-backs had 50 homers at home in 49 games before the All-Star break, 57 on the road. Their home pace is down quite a bit from the last two seasons, when they hit 122 at Chase in 2017 and 113 there in 2016. In the past 11 seasons, the D-backs have hit more homers on the road twice.
"Some days it travels and some days it doesn't," said center fielder A.J. Pollock, who has six of his 12 homers at home this season.
"I felt like in the beginning of the year, there were a couple of series where it really didn't travel. And there have been a couple of series when it has been OK. There were a couple of balls I thought I definitely got, but they kind of hang up. There have been other days when I hit it and it went as far as I thought it was going to go."
Daniel Descalso has nine homers in 87 games, five at home. He is on pace to break his career mark of 10 last season, his first with the D-backs, when he hit seven at Chase Field.
"I think there is definitely a difference," Descalso said. "The first month or so, it was a big topic of discussion among the players, but since then it hasn't been as much of a topic. I think we just decided it is something we are going to have to get used to.
"Definitely some balls aren't jumping out like they were in years past, but that's not something we have any control over. We have to go out and have good at-bats. We haven't had discussions on altering approach or hitting style.
"The balls that are homers are getting out. It's the ones that maybe snuck out that aren't getting out any more. But it hasn't been a distraction, and it hasn't been an excuse."
In general terms, the D-backs are having a down year offensively as compared to previous in seasons. They entered the post-break portion of the schedule eighth in runs, 10th in slugging, 12th in OPS and 14th in batting average.
Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.