Baseball is a sport played over half the year, and with almost daily games for over six months, the importance of any one individual game is muted. One loss in April doesn’t fill fans with despair, because they know there are far more games to come. However for some teams the losses can keep piling up, and when a team is in a rut, every day is a new opportunity to dig themselves a bigger hole. Being a fan of a team in one of those stretches can make it hard to follow as day after day the losses come. Here’s a look at the 5 stretches in the 2016 season that were the most soul-crushing for fans to follow:
- Atlanta Braves
Dates: April 4th-May 10th
The Braves entered 2016 with the knowledge that they would be bad. The team had a roster that had been stripped through trades, and was clearly in rebuild mode. Knowing that didn’t make the start of the Braves season any easier to endure for its fans. Starting off with an atrocious 0-9 skid, the Braves fell right into the cellar of the NL East and never left it for the whole season. This stretch showed Braves fans what to expect out of the season, and despite it getting better near the end, the tone of 2016 was set early on.
- Cincinnati Reds
Dates: April 11th-May 8th
The Reds record is by far not the worst on this list, but they managed to set some history of their own during this 23-game stretch. The Reds bullpen set the record for most consecutive appearances giving up a run at 23 games. The bullpen ERA was 7.68, worse than the 5.32 ERA position players pitching had in 2016.
Their bullpen was historically bad, and its worst moment came about a week after the run streak ended. In the fifth inning on May 17th, the Reds were losing 8-0 to the Indians. With men on first and third, Alfredo Simon was pulled for Steve Delabar, who walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, then struck out the next. With two outs and THE BASES LOADED the Reds bullpen walked the next 4 batters.
- Chicago White Sox
Dates: May 14th-June 19th
Lost within their poor season and this winter’s fire sale, the White Sox’ amazing run to begin the season is forgotten. On May 13th the White Sox held the best record in the AL, and the second best in baseball at 24-12, and had a 5.0 game lead in the AL Central. Articles were published talking about the Chicago–Chicago World Series that seemed bound to happen. Then the wind left the White Sox sails. The Cubs kept rolling on their way to the World Series, but over a period of less than a month and a week the White Sox went a dismal 9-24, falling all the way to fourth in the AL Central, only above the Twins. The White Sox stormed into the season, but this stretch put them firmly in the division’s fourth spot, and led to the fire sale that took place this offseason.
- Tampa Bay Rays
Dates: June 16th-July 16th
On June 15th the Rays were 31-32 coming off a 3-2 victory against the Mariners. They were 4th in the tight AL East, only 5.5 games back from the 1st place Red Sox and Orioles. Over the next month the Rays would go 3-24, falling to 19.5 games back and removing any hope Rays fans had of making the playoffs. During this stretch the Rays were outscored 82-162 and had two losing streaks which reached 11 and 8 losses respectively. It was the worst month any team had all year, and the worst 27-game stretch in franchise history.
- Minnesota Twins
Dates: April 4th-April 14th
Amidst their 103-loss disaster of a season we have forgotten that the Twins expected to be good in 2016. They were trending up in 2015, improving to 83-79 from a 70-92 season in 2014. They had a young core headed up by Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, and despite PECOTA projecting the Twins for a slightly below .500 record, Twins fans were optimistic for their season hopes.
However, the Twins stumbled right out of the gate, and then fell flat on their face. They started with the same 0-9 that the Braves did, and got outscored by 22 runs over this first losing stretch. The Twins were a team that at least expected to hang around for most of the season, and before the second week was out they were already 7.0 games back. For a team that was expecting to compete to be that far out by the second week of play cements the Twins’ season opening as the most demoralizing stretch of baseball for any fan base this year.Next post: Card Chronicle: Otis Nixon – Speed to Burn
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