If it makes you feel any better, Kameron Loe has already given up 9 home runs in 11 relief appearances this season. Like the Royals' Kelvin Herrera, the Astros' Paul Clemens and Milwaukee's John Axford have also given up 6 home runs.
In 2012, 54 different relief pitchers surrendered 7 or more home runs during the season and 10 of those pitchers allowed double digit home run totals. In that group are a number of what most of us would consider very good relievers: closers, eighth inning guys, firemen. Basically a lot of pitchers that, when they entered a game one pretty much assumes your team is done scoring for the night.
Home runs happen to good pitchers. When they happen to good relievers, they come at the very worst times. Like the 11th inning of yesterday's game.
In 2012, Kelvin Herrera allowed just 4 home runs in 84 innings of work. His home run to fly ball percentage was just 6.9%. In just 14 innings this season, Kelvin has already allowed 6 home runs with a bizarrely high HR/FB of 37.5%. No reliever had a rate near that high in 2012 (Johnny Venters finished up at 24.0%) or 2011 (David Herndon 18.0%) or 2010 (Blake Hawkesworth 18.8%) or 2009 (Luis Perdomo 21.2%)...you get the picture. Certainly, Herrera is in for some positive regression in this area.
Is it all bad luck?
On April 16th against Atlanta, Herrera allowed the following home runs:
- Jason Heyward on a 99 mph fastball right down the middle
- Justin Upton on a 87 mph change-up at the very top of the strike zone
- Dan Uggla on a 99 mph fastball basically in the same spot as the one thrown to Heyward