After two homers in their comeback win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night, the Atlanta Braves have slugged 301 home runs on the year, putting them on the brink of MLB history. They became just the third team to cross the 300-homer plateau in a single season, and with five games to go, are just short of the 2019 Twins' total, an MLB-record 307.
The Braves' 301 homers in 157 games puts them at a rate of 1.92 per game, on pace for a total of over 310 over the whole season. To surpass the Twins' tally, the Braves need to slug seven homers over the last five games, a rate of 1.4 per game, just below their season pace.
It's always impressive to break a record as major as team home runs, but this one would be a bit extra special- before this year's Braves kicked off their barrage of dingers, the top four spots on the single-season team home run list were all occupied by squads from the 2019 season, which was an overall anomaly in terms of home run hitting. It's widely believed that the balls in play that season were "juiced" to go farther, something we haven't really seen lately, making it even more incredible that these Braves might be able to surpass the squads who played under those conditions.
The Braves' home run leaderboard is absolutely unfathomable to look at, as it's topped by MLB home run leader Matt Olson and his tally of 53, but it keeps getting crazy as you go down the list. MVP frontrunner and the newly-minted founding member of the 40/60 club Ronald Acuña Jr. has 41 homers, Austin Riley and Marcell Ozuna have an outside chance to crack 40 with 37 and 36 respectively, while slugging second baseman Ozzie Albies has cracked 32. Incredibly enough, Sean Murphy has smacked 21 of his own in just over 100 games while splitting the catcher position with Travis d'Arnaud
The 2019 Twins also had five hitters knock over 30 home runs, but only one over 40 (Nelson Cruz with 41) and of course none approaching Olson's total. The 2019 Yankees, who came just a homer short of Minnesota's final number, did it differently; Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez were the only hitters above 30 homers, as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton missed a lot of time, so the Yanks' homers were spread out throughout the lineup.
With such a startlingly high concentration of big numbers at the top of the Braves' lineup compared to these other historic slugging squads, the argument could be made that they have assembled the most imposing gauntlet of power hitting ever, whether or not they do polish off the record. The Braves have two more games against the Cubs, and will finish the regular season at home against the Washington Nationals; stay tuned to see if they're able to hit six or seven more homers and enter the record books.
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