Baseball is a game of numbers, which can be a lot of fun to crunch sometimes.
Those numbers can also paint an ugly picture, such as when researching the Royals’ seven-game losing streak. Here are some numbers that put the Royals’ struggles in historical perspective.
▪ The Royals have lost six straight games while scoring one run or less, the first time a team has done that since the 2011 Minnesota Twins, per research done through Baseball Reference’s indispensable Play Index. But, as Buddy Bell once noted, it could be worse.
The 1963 Houston Colt .45’s had a nine-game losing streak when they scored one run or fewer in each game. The Colt .45’s scored three runs total, while losing to Cubs, Reds and Braves (when they were in Milwaukee!).
I started looking into that based on this tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney:
The other teams were those 2011 Twins, who finished 63-99 that season, and the 1978 Blue Jays, who were 59-102 on the season.
▪ ESPN’s “Elias Says” page noted the Royals joined the 1995 Oakland A’s as the only teams in major-league history to follow a home winning streak of six or more games with at least seven consecutive road losses. Those 1995 A’s ended the season by being swept by Seattle (three games), Texas (two games) and the California Angels. In that four-game series against the Angels, current Royals announcer Rex Hudler batted .769 (10 for 13) with three stolen bases, two doubles and a home run.
▪ A silver lining from Wednesday’s 4-0 loss in Baltimore: The Royals didn’t allow a home run. In the previous five games, they had allowed two or more in each contest. That was tied for the third-longest stretch in franchise history — trailing 2001 Royals (6) and the 1999 Royals (8). Both of those teams lost 97 games. The good news is the Royals also had similar five-game stretch a year ago.
▪ There have been 19 teams in the history of baseball that have scored one run or fewer in six or more consecutive games. The Royals have struck out the most of any team on that list: 53 times. Second place: The aforementioned Colt .45’s (50).
▪ Elias also said that the only other defending World Series champion to score one run or fewer in six consecutive games was the 1920 Reds. That Cincinnati team, which beat the so-called Black Sox in the World Series, were shut out four times in that stretch. The Reds bounced back with an 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates to snap the stretch.
▪ During this sorry six-game stretch, the Royals have hit .192. Since the start of expansion in 1969, only one team has had a lower batting average during a losing streak of six or more games in which it scored one run or fewer. Those 1978 Blues Jays hit .143, but did have three home runs. The Royals have just one in this span.
One bonus note:
▪ The Royals still have a winning record at 30-29, but they have had trouble beating good teams. The Royals are 10-17 against teams with a winning record this season. They are 20-12 against clubs with a losing record.