By In Stuff

Dirty Dozen

The Kansas City Royals have lost 12 games in a row, which (sad to say) is not all that unusual in Kansas City, though it is unusual everywhere else. Since the strike, there have been 20 teams that have lost 12 or more games in a row — about one per year.

Of the 20, five are Kansas City losing streaks. So, the Royals have that going for them.

Numerous people have emailed to ask if the Royals can turn this thing around this year. In some ways, yes, I think they can — depending on what you mean by “turn things around.”

I honestly don’t think they are anything close to this bad. I might not go with the SI-Fangraphs-WAR Power Rankings which kind of overshot the target and had them ranked seventh in baseball. But I do agree somewhat with their premise that this team has had a bad run of luck and a a drought of clutch hitting that doesn’t figure to last (five of their 12 losses are by one run). Also, the season is so young that, really, it’s absurd to make too much out of anything. Derek Jeter’s hitting .400. Albert Pujols is on pace to hit zero home runs. Let’s wait it out a bit.

That said, the record of teams that have lost 12 in a row is not perplexing. Good teams do not lose 12 games in a row. It’s that simple. The best team to lose 12 in a row since the strike was the 2004 Baltimore Orioles who ended up winning 78 games. Of course, 78 wins for this Royals team would probably set off a parade in the Plaza. I would say that if the Royals rebounded from this to win anything above 73 games, it would have to be viewed as a real positive.

Unfortunately, that’s kind of the best case scenario. Of the 19 previous teams to lose 12 in a row, eight lost a hundred, and four more lost 95. See, it’s hard to lose 12 in a row. From 1998-2001, not a single team managed to do it. The Royals came into this year with some real promise, and that promise is still there for long-term dreamers. But, bad luck or not, fluky or not, early or not, the Royals have lost 12 in a row, and that tells you that something very wrong is happening. The Royals would ignore those signs at their own peril.

Twelve game losing streaks since 1995 (with final record):

2012: Kansas City
2011: Seattle (67-95)
2010: Pittsburgh (57-105)
2009: Baltimore (64-98)
2008: Seattle (61-101), Kansas City (75-87), Washington (59-102)
2007: None
2006: Kansas City (62-100), Pittsburgh (67-95)
2005: Kansas City (56-106)
2004: Milwaukee (67-94), Arizona (51-111), Baltimore (78-84), Tampa Bay (70-91)
2003: None
2002: Tampa Bay (55-106), New York Mets (75-86), Baltimore (67-95)
2001: None
2000: None
1999: None
1998: None
1997: Chicago Cubs (68-94), Kansas City (67-94)
1996: Detroit (53-109)
1995: None

Print Friendly

16 Responses to Dirty Dozen

  1. Matt says:

    It’s pretty surprising that the 2003 Tigers team that almost set the record for most losses in a season didn’t lose 12 in a row.

    The average team only won 64 games, which means that the Royals would need to go 61-84 the rest of the way. That doesn’t seem like it’s outside the realm of possibility.

    Of course, I don’t think they hand out trophies for reaching the average number of wins in a season for teams that, since the strike, have had a 12-game losing streak.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Signs I’m getting old: when you said “since the strike,” I thought 1981.

  3. Jermaine says:

    In reference to your tweet on Yost on Sanchez and your comment about being 18 inches taller, Lee Judge had this to say: “[T]hese pitchers can pretty much throw a strike whenever they want to. Nibbling is usually not a function of physical talent, it’s a poor mental approach.” Clearly, your problem is a poor mental approach to being taller!

  4. sag969 says:

    All of those teams you listed (if I understand correctly) lost exactly 12 games in a row. It makes me wonder what the longest losing streak in baseball history is.

    I did some quick searching, but according to Wikipedia the top two are the Louisville Colonels and Cleveland Spiders…both 19th century teams. Any chance you could find a list for the modern era?

    I’m curious how teams with strikes of 12 games are longer (if there are many) ended up performing.

  5. ajnrules says:

    Well, these teams all lost exactly 12 games. Some of them went on to lose more. For example the 2005 Royals lost another seven games after their losing streak hit 12.

    As far as the longest modern losing streaks go, I don’t think any team has topped the 23-game losing streak by the 1961 Phillies. These Royals are halfway to the record!

    • nightflyblog says:

      You are correct. According to Baseball Reference, four teams have lost 20 or more games in a row. The ’61 Phils are at the bottom of the list with 23 (7/29 to 8/20). Chad has the second-longest with the ’88 Orioles at 21. The two 20-straight losers are the 1943 Philadelphia A’s and the 1969 Montreal Expos.

      Incidentally, the Orioles dropped all those games to only four different opponents: they went 0-5 against Milwaukee, 0-6 against KC (!!), 0-7 against Cleveland, and finished the streak by dropping three in Minnesota.

      The Twins starters were Frank Viola, Bert Blyleven, and finally Allen Anderson, who sent Mike Boddicker to 0-5 that day. (Anderson never pitched for anyone but the Twins, winning 49 games in six seasons and leading the AL in ERA in 1988.) And KC won twice each behind Gubicza, Bannister, and Saberhagen.

  6. Lose 12 in a row and still finish 75-87? That’s .500 ball the rest of the way! I say, start printing the playoff tickets!

  7. You are correct Joe, but is there a huge difference between losing 12 in a row and losing 11 in a row? In 2009, the Rays lost 11 straight but finished with 84 wins. Now those losses were in September and dropped TB from contention, but it was still a pretty good team.

    I think good teams may have a long losing streak, and the proper analysis is to look at the makeup of the team, not simply at what may be a blip in their record for 12 games before declaring them a “not good” team.

  8. Chad says:

    Well, I think if we’re talking long losing streaks in baseball, the one that just leaps out to me is the 1988 Orioles who lost 21 in a row … TO START THE SEASON!! Long losing streaks are bad enough at any point in time, but to start 0-21 and have to play out the string of 141 games, knowing they are all meaningless must have been brutal. 21 games into the year and they were already 16 games out of first place.

  9. Bill James wrote an article a while ago analyzing losing streaks and found that good teams could have pretty long ones, up to about ten games. Longer than that, though, and you were probably looking at a truly bad team.

  10. Bill James wrote an article a while ago analyzing losing streaks and found that good teams could have pretty long ones, up to about ten games. Longer than that, though, and you were probably looking at a truly bad team.

  11. Tim says:

    That 2004 Tampa Bay team not only lost 12 games in a row, also had a 12-game winning streak in June of the same year. Only team in MLB history to do that.

    They went 20-6 in June. 20-win months are rare for teams, much more so for 90+ loss teams.

    What a bizarre season that was for the Devil Rays.

  12. Tim says:

    That 2004 Tampa Bay team not only lost 12 games in a row, also had a 12-game winning streak in June of the same year. Only team in MLB history to do that.

    They went 20-6 in June. 20-win months are rare for teams, much more so for 90+ loss teams.

    What a bizarre season that was for the Devil Rays.

  13. The 1987 Milwaukee Brewers won their first 13 games of the season. A month later they had a 12 game losing streak under their belt as well. They finished with 91 wins, tied for 5th best in MLB.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/MIL/1987-schedule-scores.shtml

  14. David in NYC says:

    Speaking of consecutive team wins, one of my favorite teams is the 1916 New York Giants. During that season, they won 17 games in a row (all on the road), then later 26 games in a row (all at home).

    And finished fourth with a record of 86-66.

  15. It’s pretty surprising that the 2003 Tigers team that almost set the record for most losses in a season didn’t lose 12 in a row.

    Presswire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *