Is Blyleven's record for
homers allowed at risk?

Updated: June 17, 2002, 2:07 PM ET
By by Thom Henninger, STATS. Inc.
Anaheim righthander Ramon Ortiz won an 8-4 decision over Los Angeles on Friday, allowing just four hits to the home team in Dodger Stadium. Those four hits off Ortiz were four solo homers, which vaulted the 29-year-old hurler to the top of the major leagues in home runs allowed with 22 thus far this season.

It's surprising enough that a pitcher among the American League's top 10 in ERA is leading the majors in coughing up homers. Even more amazing is that Ortiz finds himself at risk of threatening a 16-year-old record. It's been 16 seasons since Bert Blyleven set the major league standard by yielding 50 home runs for the 1986 Minnesota Twins. That dubious distinction was at risk two years ago during Jose Lima's flameout in 2000, when Lima gave up 48 dingers in Houston's inaugural campaign at what is now Minute Maid Park.

This homer-happy era still may spark a successor to Blyleven's place in the record books, as the 2002 campaign features a handful of hurlers who are on course to challenge the mark.