Tag Archives: losing streaks

Random Rewind: 1978, Game One Hundred Three


Date:  Wednesday, August 2.

Batting star:  Rob Wilfong was 2-for-3.

Pitching stars:  Geoff Zahn pitched six innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out two.  Mike Marshall struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Jim Colborn pitched a complete game, giving up one run on six hits and one walk and striking out one.  Julio Cruz was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Bob Stinson was 2-for-3.  Leon Roberts was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his third.  Bob Robertson was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his sixth) and a walk.

The game:  With one out in the second Robertson walked, was bunted to second, and scored on a Juan Bernhardt single, putting the Mariners up 1-0.  The Twins tied it in the fourth when Roy Smalley walked, Rod Carew sent him to second with a double, and Butch Wynegar hit a sacrifice fly, making the score 1-1.

It stayed 1-1 until the sixth.  Roberts got on with a one-out single and Robertson hit a two-out two-run homer to put Seattle up 3-1.  And that was it.  The Twins got three singles in the last three innings, but never put a man past first base.

WP:  Colborn (3-8).  LP:  Zahn (8-10).  S:  None.

Notes:  Wilfong and Bobby Randall platooned at second base.  Randall actually played more games there, 115 to 80, but Wilfong got the call in this game.

The Twins also had a platoon at third base with Mike Cubbage and Larry Wolfe.  Again, Cubbage played more games, 115 to 81, but Wolfe got the call here.

Rich Chiles was in left in place of Willie Norwood.

Jose Morales pinch-hit for Wolfe in the eighth.  Randall went in to play third base.

Carew was leading the team in batting, of course, at .330.  He would finish at .333.  Dan Ford was batting .300.  He would finish at .274.  The Twins batted .267, which was tied for fourth in the league.  Milwaukee led at .276.

As we've seen in numerous years, the Twins did not have much power.  Smalley led the team with 19 homers.  The only other player in double figures was Ford, with 11.  The Twins hit 82 home runs, which was last in the league and 15 behind the next-lowest team.  Milwaukee led with 173, more than twice as many as the Twins had.

Zahn had a solid year, going 14-14, 3.03, 1.35 WHIP.  The staff ace was Dave Goltz, who went 15-10, 2.49, 1.25.  Roger Erickson, in his rookie year, went 14-13, 3.96, 1.31.  We really thought we had something in Erickson, and maybe we would have if he hadn't thrown 265.1 innings in his age 21 season.  Gary Serum joined the rotation in May and went 9-9, 4.10, 1.26.  The other starters were Darrell Jackson, 4-6, 4.48, 1.48, and Paul Thormodsgard, 1-6, 5.05, 1.49.  "Closer" Mike Marshall went 10-12, 2.45, 1.18 with 21 saves (the rest of the team had five).  The Twins pitched to a 3.69 ERA, good for tenth in the league.  New York led at 3.18.  The Twins were ninth in WHIP at 1.36.  New York led there, too, at 1.23.

This was Jim Colborn's last season.  He had been a good pitcher, but he no longer was one in 1978, going a combined 4-12, 5.24, 1.44 WHIP for Kansas City and Seattle.  This was his first game all season in which he had a game score over 50.

This was the second of a four-game losing streak.  The Twins were in a stretch in which they lost seven of eight, nine of eleven, and eleven of fourteen.

Record:  The Twins were 45-58, in fifth place in the American League West, 12.5 games behind Kansas City.  They would finish 73-89, in fourth place, 19 games behind Kansas City.

The Mariners were 38-69, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 21.5 games behind Kansas City.  They would finish 56-104, in seventh place, 35 games behind Kansas City.

Random Record:  The Twins are 46-45 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 2011, Game One Hundred Nine


Date:  Tuesday, August 2.

Batting stars:  Michael Cuddyer was 2-for-4 with a double.  Jason Kubel was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Alex Burnett pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.  Matt Capps pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Ervin Santana pitched a complete game, giving up one run on eight hits and two walks and striking out seven.  He threw 121 pitches.  Vernon Wells was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Peter Bourjos was 2-for-3 with a double.  Mark Trumbo was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his twentieth.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fourteenth.

The game:  The Angels started the scoring in the third.  Bourjos led off with a double, was bunted to third, and scored on a ground out to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead.  The Twins got the run back in the fourth, as Cuddyer led off with a double and scored on a pair of ground outs, making it 1-1.

The Angels took control in the fourth.  Wells led off with a walk, Howie Kendrick doubled, and Trumbo hit a three-run homer to make it 4-1.  The Twins had a threat in the fifth, as Delmon Young led off with a walk followed by a Tsuyoshi Nishioka single, but Denard Span hit into a double play to take them out of the inning.  Hunter homered in the fifth to make it 5-1.

The Twins had one more threat, in the sixth, when Cuddyer and Kubel had one-out singles, but nothing came of it.  They did not advance a man past first after that.

WP:  Santana (7-8).  LP:  Brian Duensing (8-9).  S:  None.

Notes:  Joe Mauer was behind the plate for this game, one of just 52 times he was able to catch.  Drew Butera was actually the primary catcher, playing 93 games.  Rene Rivera caught 44.

Cuddyer was at first base, as Justin Morneau was out due to injury.  Morneau was able to play just 56 games at first base, with Cuddyer playing 46, Luke Hughes 36, Chris Parmelee 20, and Mauer 18.

Trevor Plouffe was at second base, as Alexi Casilla's season was effectively over due to injury.  Casilla was able to play just 56 games at second base.  Hughes played 37, Matt Tolbert 36, Cuddyer 17, Plouffe 17, and Brian Dinkelman 11.

Span was making his return to center field, having missed nearly two months due to injury.  He was able to play just 67 games in center.  Ben Revere played 89.

With Cuddyer at first base, Kubel was in right field.

Kubel was batting .306.  He would finish at .273.  Cuddyer was batting .300.  He would finish at .284.  Mauer would lead the team in batting at .287 in 333 plate appearances.  The Twins finished eleventh in batting at .247.

Cuddyer led the team in home runs with 20.  Then came Danny Valencia with 15, Jim Thome with 12, and Kubel with 12.  The Twins finished last in home runs with 103.  A Bomba Squad they were not.

Duensing pitched six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out three.  This would be his only season as a full-time starter.  Scott Baker was the only good starter they had, at 8-6, 3.14, but he was only able to make 21 starts due to injuries.  Carl Pavano made the most starts, 33, and went 9-13, 4.30.  Nick Blackburn was 7-10, 4.49 and Francisco Liriano was 9-10, 5.09.  The only other pitcher to make double-digit starts was Anthony Swarzak, who was 4-7, 4.32.

The 2011 team was really destroyed by injuries.  I didn't even mention the injury to Nishioka or Joe Nathan's struggles trying to come back.  Between guys playing out of position and guys who should have been in Rochester, it's no wonder they had a terrible year.

This was the last of a three-game losing streak.  They would win the next day, then go on a six-game losing streak.  Over the last two months of the season this team went 13-41.

Record:  The Twins were 50-59, in fourth place in the American League Central, 8 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 63-99, in fifth (last) place, 32 games behind Detroit.

The Angels were 60-50, in second place in the American League West, 1 game behind Texas.  They would finish 86-76, in second place, 10 games behind Texas.

Random record:  The Twins are 36-31 in Random Rewind games.

Losing Consecutively

The Twins starting the season with a nine-game losing streak was not good. Good teams don't lose a lot of games and even more so don't lose them in long streaks. That got me wondering about how teams with losing streaks fared overall.

It was pointed out here that the Twins streak was more noteworthy because it started the season so it looks even worse. Baseball-Reference only allows searching from the beginning of the season if you want to include all teams over all years so that's the best quick investigations can do. In order to search throughout the season, some work needed to be done.

I processed every season in the modern era through last year and grouped all games together by their streaks. A stretch that went WLLWWW would be a one-game winning streak, a two-game losing streak, and a three-game winning streak. Some brief spot checking of last year's data showed the streaks were properly classified. I merged that with the season results for those seasons in order to associate how teams did given a streak of a certain length.

To start, I decided to look at the range of results for teams with at least a losing streak of every length. The full dataset contains every season since 1900. Here are the number of seasons that contained a losing streak of this length from 1900 through 2015.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 23
2117 2116 2102 1896 1469 1014 605 377 210 130 73 43 27 19 9 2 4 3 4 4 1 1

First thing that popped out to me was the 2117 seasons with a one-game losing streak but 2116 seasons with a two-game losing streak. I checked the data to find the season, looked it up and determined it was right. If you want to know which team it is, the answer is at the bottom.

I did not want to have to normalize the seasons to match 162-game seasons nor have to deal with seasons shortened by a strike so I processed only the 162-game seasons. Converting that to a box plot for a pretty picture gives us this.

Boxplot of seasons with a losing streak of a given length

The widths of the box plots represent the number of seasons. The total number of seasons in the data set are 1234. In tabular form it looks like the following.

Losing streak length Seasons with that streak 95th percentile 75th percentile Median 25th percentile 5th percentile
1 1234 109 89 81.0 73.0 50
2 1234 109 89 81.0 73.0 50
3 1232 109 89 81.0 72.5 50
4 1121 109 88 80.0 72.0 50
5 882 109 86 78.0 70.0 50
6 605 108 84 76.0 68.0 50
7 361 102 82 75.0 67.0 51
8 229 103 82 73.0 66.0 43
9 121 95 77 71.0 64.0 51
10 66 92 76 68.0 64.0 50
11 37 89 76 68.0 62.0 43
12 23 91 73 67.0 59.0 53
13 12 77 70 67.0 63.0 60
14 7 70 66 63.0 60.5 60
15 4 65 60 53.0 51.0 51
17 3 67 64 61.0 50.5 40
19 2 57 57 56.5 56.0 56
20 1 52 52 52.0 52.0 52
21 1 54 54 54.0 54.0 54

Nothing knowing except the Twins having a nine-game losing streak, we would expect them to finish with 71 wins. We do know more than that and the preseason projections were not as kind to project the Twins for 81 wins. Many of them were closer to the high 70s so somewhere between the median and 25th percentile marks seems a more likely scenario.

I did another check on what happens if the losing streak happens in the first quarter of the season but the results are very similar. The sample size also becomes a problem as you get into the longer streaks. So I am skipping that and moving on to postseason probabilities.

It was already known at the beginning of the season that reaching the postseason would be unlikely. Well, losing nine straight hurts that a lot.

Probability of reaching postseason

Note the "0" does not mean did not lose at all but instead is a placeholder to mean the average for all seasons.

Good thing they avoided losing ten games instead of nine, unless they managed to stretch it to eleven games. Not much to say here other than don't lose a lot of games if you want to make the postseason.

Spoiler: Postseason probability data SelectShow

In conclusion, don't expect good things this year. The team started out with marginal chances for reaching 81 wins and now they're trying to do it in 153 games.




Spoiler: Team that never had a two-game losing streak SelectShow

Game 9 Recap: Minnesota 3, Texas 4

Jackie Robinson Day. Jack Roosevelt Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. He played 9 years in the majors and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. I could go on, but if you watched baseball today, you already know everything there is to know about #42. Sh*t, even if you didn't watch baseball today you probably already know all about Jackie. He is that significant to the Civil Rights era and the eventual improvement of race-relations in America; a true icon.  His inclusion and eventual debut in the majors was carefully orchestrated by Branch Rickey (to me, one of the more interesting characters in MLB history). In case you're still wondering, this game came nowhere near the historic magnitude of Jackie Robinson or even Branch Rickey.

The game ended poorly for Glen Perkins and he took the loss. Robbie Ross took over in the 6th and pitched 2 scoreless inning for the Rangers to notch his 2nd win. Through the early innings, it was the Clete Thomas and Liam Hendriks show. In their season debut for the Local 9, the former Twins draft pick (and recent Tiger) jacked a 2-run homer and had a nice (sort-of?) outfield assist, and the Aussie pitched 6 innings of 1 run ball. After completing 7, the Twins had a 3-1 lead and the top of the order due up. It should have been enough to get the Twins back in the win column, ready to salvage the rubber match of the series against the Dallas, Texas Rangers of Arlington.  Except it wasn't... Continue reading Game 9 Recap: Minnesota 3, Texas 4