The ability to hit a home run at any given moment has long been a staple of the Red Sox. Aided by some of the most supportive home dimensions in Major League Baseball, Sox sluggers have long taken advantage of Fenway to routinely rate among the game’s best at hitting the baseball. With this weekend’s series against the Los Angeles Angels, expect the long ball to be even more on display.
First things first, the Red Sox simply have one of the best offenses in baseball, with a strong mix of average, on-base skills, and light-tower power littered throughout the lineup. Although given the premise of this piece, we’re just going to focus on the Sox home run propensities. So far, Sox hitters have combined to hit 68 home runs, good for 9th in baseball, and have posted the second highest slugging percentage in the game.
However, this weekend, the reason the Sox can take even greater advantage of this strength is because of the guys on the rubber for the opposing team. The Angels are sending out Tommy Hanson, C.J. Wilson, and Joe Blanton, three of the worst pitchers in baseball when it comes to keeping the ball in the park. Furthermore, their poor HR/FB rates (all well below-average at around 12%) come while pitching in a strong pitching park in Anaheim. Don’t be surprised if David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, and perhaps even Dustin Pedroia and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, have field days with the bat. Overall, this combination of a favorable home park, a strong offense, and a pitching staff vulnerable to the big fly should all work in favor of the Sox hitting a bunch of balls over the wall.
Obviously, home runs don’t always equal wins (the Mariners are 27-35 with the 7th most home runs in baseball), but this weekend, just enjoy the fireworks.