08 September 2004

The Year of the Streak(s)

Forget Cal Ripken. Forget 1998.

 Posted by Hello
2004 is The Year of the Streak.

Or, more accurately, the Year of the Streaks, as there are several different kinds of streaks that have taken place or are currently underway.

For example, the Arizona Diamondbacks, though they might have been thought of as contenders before the season began, are easily the Worst Team in Baseball. Their current 42-97 record means that they have barely won 30% of their games, are eight games worse than the next most awful team in MLB, the pathetic Kansas City Royals. They're also 17(!) games worse than the Montreal Expos, the closest NL team, who are so bad that two countries don't want them. Montreal has the worst offense in the majors, averaging only 3.85 runs scored per game, which is only 2.98 with the exchange rate, and there's as much distance in the standings between the Expos and Diamondbacks as there is between the Expos and Cubs.

To be as bad as the Diamondbads are, sorry, Diamondbacks, you've got to have a few losing streaks, and boy do they. Arizona has lost nine games, eleven and even 14 games in a row, and has three other losing streaks of five or more, including the current one, which stands at six. When, in late August, they took two games out of three from the Cincinnati Reds (who should be ashamed of themselves, by the way...), it was only the second series the team has won since Mid-June. If you look at the games around those three largest losing streaks (9, 11 and 14 games, from June 18th to August 14th) the team won eight games out of 51, for a .157 winning percentage. Even the 2003 Tigers, who explored profound, new depths of futility in losing 119 games last season, never won fewer than 10 games in any 51-game span, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

The D-Backs are a Blur of Badness Posted by Hello

On the other side of the coin, the Florida Marlins have currently built a 9-game winning streak, which has helped them to get back into the NL Wild Card Race, where they are currently only 1.5 games behind the lead. Nine games is not that extraordinary a streak, but it sure is a timely one, as was the 7-game winning streak they had near the beginning of the season. That 7-game streak was helped by the Marlins getting to play the Phillies, who suck when they play Florida, as you may recall, and the Expos, who suck when they play anyone. It also served to put the Phils five and a half games behind the Marlins, which is just about where they sit now. This means, of course, that the Phillies and Marlins have played almost exactly as well as each other since the middle of April, and that the Phillies' lost postseason chance is owed entirely to their inability to beat the Fish.

Philadelphia has gone 69-58 in games they didn't play against Florida, while the Marlins have actually played at .500, 61-61, in non-Philly games. But Florida has won 11 of 12 contests between them, and, as I mentioned in a previous post, the two teams still have seven games against each other in September. So, while the Marlins' current winning streak is timely, it's really their success against the City of Brotherly BOO!! that they have to thank for even being in contention. And if the Fish should pull off another miracle and make it to the playoffs? The Phillies ought to get proper credit...for sucking exactly when they needed to.

Speaking of winning streaks, the Houston Astros have taken advantage of some of their NL Central rivals to win 12 in a row. Perhaps more impressively, they've won 15 out of 16 and 20 out of 23 since mid-August, to lead the NL Wild Card race, in a tie with the Giants, by half a game. This after the Astros were all but counted out, with a season-worst four games under .500 record at 56-60 on August 14th, and after losing two out of three to the Expos (who suck, remember?) Their next five games come against the Pirates, who also suck, but then a lot of the remaining schedule is against the Cardinals and Giants, who don't. Half a game isn't much of a lead, and while the Cubs are the class of the race on paper, they've done anything but put away the competition to this point.

And we can't forget Boston, though we might like to. The Red Sox comfortably lead the AL Wild Card race by five games over Anaheim, and are continuing to creep up on the Yankees in the AL East, only two games back now after beating Oakland 8-3 last night. That extends their current winning streak to a meager four games, but this follows shortly after a ten-game win streak and six-game streak, broken up only by singular losses, which means that the Dirt Dogs have won 20 of their last 22, and haven't lost consecutive games in over a month. It's almost sad that all this effort might prove to be for naught as the Division title and the Wild Card seem to offer about the same chance of making it t and winning the World Series. I Keep telling myself that Lady Luck will have to wake up at some point and start evening things out for the Sawx, but with the remainder of the Red Sox schedule taking place against Tampa, Baltimore and Seattle, streak or no streak, the Red Sox will not go away.

Well, not until October. When the Yankees beat them. Again.

It's just a matter of time... Posted by Hello

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: