Much hay has been made about this season’s Twins inability to lose three consecutive games. But when I was thinking about it yesterday, I remembered the radio broadcast mentioning that the Twins were the only team in the league to have avoided such a streak.
That was back in mid-May.
So I did a bit of digging, just to see how other teams had fared in that department. I ended up compiling a list of when each team hit their first three-game skid this year, and here are the results:
Astros March 31st
Braves March 31st
Red Sox April 1st
Angels April 1st
Cubs April 1st
Rockies April 1st
Blue Jays April 2nd
Reds April 2nd
Royals April 3rd
Marlins April 3rd
Giants April 5th
Orioles April 6th
Rangers April 7th
Athletics April 7th
White Sox April 8th
Yankees April 10th
Brewers April 10th
Dodgers April 10th
D-Backs April 12th
Indians April 14th
Tigers April 14th
Mariners April 14th
Padres April 16th
Rays April 20th
Phillies April 23rd
Pirates April 23rd
Mets April 27th
Nationals April 27th
Cardinals May 4th
Twins NEVER AGAIN EVER.
Okay, that last bit might be a stretch, but it’s a testament to the consistency of the Twins that they've avoided three straight Ls for almost two months longer than the rest of the league. And just to put all of these numbers into perspective:
-Yes, you read that right; the Astros and the Braves couldn’t make it out of March without losing three straight. Those teams are both now leading their respective divisions.
-Half of the teams in the league had such a losing streak by April 8th.
-Of the ten best teams in baseball(Excluding the Twins), the Rays lasted the longest, holding off until April 20th.
-The Cardinals lasted the longest of any non-Minnesota ball club, staving off the streak until May 4th. They were the only team of the 29 to make it to May.
These statistics are all well and good, but what about historical perspective? Maybe 2019 is just an outlier and teams frequently gallop into July with such overwhelming perseverance and fortitude that losing three consecutive games just isn’t in their blood.
Yeah, not so much.
I surveyed every year since 1998(The first year the MLB had 30 teams) and of the 660 combined seasons, I found that 549 of those teams couldn't get through April without losing three straight. Another 101 didn’t make it past May. And eight didn’t survive past June.
That means that of the 660 combined seasons played since 1998, only two other teams have had the same streak the Twins currently hold: the 2009 Los Angeles Dodgers, who survived until July 28th, and the 2001 Seattle Mariners(The same Mariners team that tied the MLB record for wins in a season), who made it all the way to September 22nd. While neither of those teams won the World Series, both reached their respective league’s Championship Series. If you’d have told me at the start of the season the Twins were going to make the LCS, I’d have stared blankly at you in awkward silence until you went away.
Some other interesting historical tidbits:
-Including the Twins, three out of 660 teams have made it to July without losing three in a row. That’s a percentage of 0.45%.
-Of the ten teams that survived into June, only one had a losing record(The 2005 Texas Rangers, who made it to June 3rd), six went to the playoffs, and one took home the Commissioner’s Trophy(The 2007 Boston Red Sox).
-Seven of the those ten teams won more than 90 games and the average number of wins among them was 94.3.
-Of the 22 seasons covered, there were two teams that never made it past April with the streak in tact: the Oakland Athletics and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
-Only two teams twice made it into June without having a consecutive trio of losses: the Red Sox and the New York Mets.
-Unsurprisingly, this is the longest such streak the Twins have had, with the closest being back in 1970, where they held out until June 20th. That was the only other time in Twins’ history where they kept the streak in tact past May.
As of today, the Twins have once again lost two games in a row and will need a victory tonight to keep the streak alive. And now that I’ve written all of this, I assume it’s a foregone conclusion that I have jinxed them and tonight will be the end of the amazing streak they’ve maintained for so long.
But even if it does end tonight, it’s been a remarkable accomplishment by any measurement. The 2019 iteration of the Twins have been an absolute joy to watch and this streak has been definitive proof of the resilience of the club. And with any luck, they will be remembered not just for fending off a three-game skid for so long, but for a memorable postseason run.