Red Sox pitcher Chris Mazza gave up a mammoth home run.
Not much has gone right for a Boston Red Sox pitching staff that ranks dead last in the majors this season. Now we can add another negative distinction to the list – the longest home run allowed in 2020.
That dishonor now belongs to right-hander Chris Mazza who gave up an absolute moonshot to the first batter he faced in Friday night’s loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Mazza fell behind 3-1 in the count to lead-off hitter Ronald Acuna Jr. His fifth pitch of the game was a cutter that stayed out over the middle of the plate and Acuna crushed it to left field for a solo home run. Acuna lingered for a moment at home plate to admire his work before casually flipping his bat as he began his trot around the bases. Normally, that arrogance would irk the opposing pitcher but Acuna deserved to gloat a bit after launching that rocket.
The jaw-dropping blast traveled an estimated 495 feet. That’s the longest home run hit by a Braves hitter in the Statcast era and the longest by any major league hitter this season. The distance on this home run topped Acuna’s previous career high of 473 feet that he set last month by taking New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole deep.
The home run had an exit velocity of 112.9 mph, the fourth-hardest that Acuna has hit a ball this season. His 92.8 mph average exit velocity is tied for 13th in the majors this year, a tick ahead of Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (92.7 mph).
Acuna’s 495-foot home run is the fifth-longest in the majors since Statcast started recording this data in 2015.
Acuna is now tied for 15th in the majors with 14 home runs. He tied for 7th in that category last year when he set a career-high with 41 homers.
The sky-scrapping home run was the only damage that Mazza allowed in an otherwise solid outing. He held the Braves to that one run over five innings and settled for a no-decision in a game the bullpen would blow in extra-innings. Most of the scoring was saved for late in the game when a back-and-forth affair was decided on Freddie Freeman‘s 11th-inning walk-off home run.
Mazza made a bad pitch that Acuna took advantage of but the right-hander doesn’t have a history of being plagued by the long ball. This was only the third home run that Mazza has allowed in 30 innings this season and he didn’t allow any in his nine relief appearances for the New York Mets last year. He owns a perfectly respectable 0.6 HR/9 rate for his career.
He doesn’t give up a ton of home runs but Mazza certainly coughed up a memorable one. This speaks more to the prestigious power of Acuna, one of the game’s brightest young stars, than it does to Mazza’s ability to keep the ball in the park. Sometimes as a pitcher, you just need to tip your hat to the hitter.