Statistically speaking: Expect home runs during Brewers-Bucs series
With its cavernous North Side Notch in left-center field and 21-foot-tall homage to Roberto Clemente in right, PNC Park is considered one of the most pitcher-friendly venues. But those deep dimensions might be irrelevant this weekend when the first-place Brewers face a resurgent Pirates squad in a series that suddenly has playoff implications. The Brewers and the Pirates are hitting — and serving up — some breathtaking home runs.
Both clubs easily surpass the MLB average in home run distance. Milwaukee's homers are traveling an average of 401.5 feet, and the Pirates' bombs are landing 399.4 feet from home plate. Overall, MLB hitters are averaging 396.6 feet on homers in 2014. Mark Reynolds (13 home runs), Pedro Alvarez, Carlos Gomez and Neil Walker (11 apiece) all rank among the National League's top 10 home run hitters. And they haven't been cheap shots, either.
Avg. HR Batter distance
Pedro Alvarez 415.1
Carlos Gomez 412
Khris Davis 409.8
Mark Reynolds 401.5
Neil Walker 399.5
Source: ESPN Home Run Tracker
With an average home run distance of 415 feet, Alvarez trails just Giancarlo Stanton (432.3 feet), Mike Morse (418.2), Mark Trumbo (417.7), Ian Desmond (416.8) and Yasiel Puig (415.6) among NL batters.
Conversely, the Brewers and Pirates also have been on the receiving end of majestic home runs. Milwaukee has surrendered the most home runs in the NL, and the Pirates the fifth-most. When Pirates pitchers get taken deep, the ball is traveling an average of 400.7 feet. The Brewers haven't been hit as hard overall (393.2 feet), but Matt Garza (Saturday's scheduled starter) and Yovani Gallardo (Sunday) are getting tagged. Batters also could get serious hang time on Saturday off Edinson Volquez, who is tied with Gallardo for the fifth-most home runs allowed in the NL (11).
Avg. true HR Pitcher dist.
Yovani Gallardo 401.7
Edinson Volquez 399
Matt Garza 394.7
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.