DENVER -- In one of the more peculiar trends in baseball, the sport's spiking home run rate has eluded one particular group in recent years. Though homers continue to soar out of stadiums in record numbers, pitchers are actually hitting them at a declining rate. Only 14 different hurlers in
DENVER -- In one of the more peculiar trends in baseball, the sport's spiking home run rate has eluded one particular group in recent years. Though homers continue to soar out of stadiums in record numbers, pitchers are actually hitting them at a declining rate. Only 14 different hurlers in the big leagues have homered this year, the lowest total since 2014.
This trend has seemingly ignored the Cardinals, who now objectively sport baseball's most power-happy pitching staff. When Miles Mikolas (Mik) hit a two-run homer in Friday's 7-5 win over the Rockies, it marked his second of the year and the fourth by a Cardinals pitcher this season. Both number lead the Majors.
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"They say don't leave Coors Field without one," Mikolas said. "I got the juice right now for our pitching staff, so that's nice. That's something to help me go to bed at night."
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Mikolas' blast wasn't cheap, either. The 426-foot opposite-field shot off Antonio Senzatela registered as the second-longest by a pitcher tracked by Statcast™ this season. It also matched a Cardinals franchise record: their four home runs by pitchers this year ties a club mark set in 1980.
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"There is definitely a lot of pride," Mikolas said. "You hear the other starters say they're going to start swinging for it more."
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The long balls have come with variety. Mikolas notched the first one, in his first at-bat since returning to the Majors after three years in Japan, on April 2 against Milwaukee. Carlos Martinez (Tsunami) clubbed the next, a solo homer against the White Sox on May 2. The most unlikely came from John Gant (Gant), who sprinted to first after launching a two-run blast Aug. 14 against the Nationals. Only after Gant's cleared the wall did he realize he could jog.
So, who's next? Or, a better question: Who wants one the most?
Mikolas has a guess: He tabbed Luke Weaver (Dream).
"You don't want to be the last one to get one, or the only guy to not get one," Mikolas said. "You might see some big swings from the pitchers here and there."
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.