BALTIMORE -- With Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium well-known as a pitchers' park and tough for home-run hitters, here's a rather surprising fact: The Royals' Billy Butler, in his career, has hit more homers there than he has on the road.
In 402 games at The K, Butler has 51 homers. In a matching 402 games on the road, he has 47 homers including one in Saturday night's 7-3 win over the Orioles.
This year Butler already has a career high, 24, for a season with 49 games left. But, in a deviation from his career trend, he's had twice as many on the road, 16, than the eight at home.
"I'd like to have that with a park factor -- see how many balls I've hit at home that would've been out somewhere else or, against the team we were playing that day, at their parks," Butler said.
Parks, of course, are a factor. In addition to 81 home games, he has 36 road games in American League Central cities which includes, in his view, other pitcher-friendly parks in Detroit and Minnesota.
"If you go on a good stretch in the AL East, nothing against those teams, but they're hitter-friendly parks and you can hit the ball out of the park just getting it into the air sometimes," Butler said. "If I'd play 81 games in a hitter-friendly park, like Baltimore, Boston, New York, there'd be no doubt that I'd hit more home runs."
Four of his homers this year have come at Baltimore's Camden Yards.
Butler is not predicting how many home runs he might finish with this year. If he reaches 30, it would be the 11th time a Royal has reached that level, topped by Steve Balboni's 36 in 1985.
"I'm just trying to hit the ball hard. Wherever it goes, it goes," he said. "Sometimes it's going to go out, sometimes it's not."