Break up The Astros!

I’ve always been fascinated with historically bad teams. Back in 2003, I rooted for the Tigers to lose 121, just for the historicalness of it. I recall being glued to MLB’s gameday when the Royals had a 19 game losing streak in ’05. Last summer, I had fun watching the Astros go through a 9-50 stretch. I think it was the worst stretch by any club since the Philadelphia A’s went 6-63 in the summer of 1916.

Now the Astros have my full attention again. After losing 106+ games in each of the past two seasons, they look like they’re at it again just 32 games into this season. Consequently, they need to go at least 55-75 (.423) to avoid a third consecutive 100 loss season.

Doesn’t sound too hard, but we’re talkin’ about a team that’s playing .250 baseball so far, and hasn’t played .400 ball in over two years. Their upcoming schedule looks tough too, with 19 of their next 21 games being against clubs currently over-.500. That includes Texas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Oakland, & Colorado.

So this made me ask — where might these Astros be placed in the history of bad teams? Losing 100+ games means a team couldn’t manage better than a .383 winning percentage for the season. Only 47 teams ever stumbled through consecutive seasons that badly, and just 20 of them played that way for at least 3 straight seasons.

Consecutive Seasons of .383 WP or Less
Team W L % Note
2011-2013/5/6 Astros 119 237 .334 could be 3 straight by end of 2013
2008-2009 Nationals 118 205 .365
2004-2006 Royals 176 310 .362 3 straight seasons
2002-2003 Tigers 98 225 .303
2001-2002 Devil Rays 117 206 .362
1981-1982 Twins 101 170 .373
1977-1979 Blue Jays 166 318 .343 3 straight seasons
1972-1973 Rangers 111 205 .351
1964-1965 A’s 116 208 .358
1962-1965 Mets 194 452 .300 4 straight seasons
1961-1964 Senators 239 407 .370 4 straight seasons
1960-1961 A’s 119 196 .378
1960-1961 Phillies 106 202 .344
1955-1957 Senators 167 295 .361 3 straight seasons
1953-1955 Browns/Orioles 165 297 .357 3 straight seasons
1953-1954 A’s 110 198 .357
1952-1954 Pirates 145 317 .314 3 straight seasons
1949-1951 Browns 163 299 .353 3 straight seasons
1948-1949 Senators 106 201 .345
1945-1946 A’s 101 203 .332
1942-1943 A’s 104 204 .338
1938-1942 Phillies 225 534 .296 5 straight seasons
1936-1940 A’s 269 493 .353 5 straight seasons
1936-1939 Browns 201 411 .328 4 straight seasons
1931-1932 White Sox 105 199 .345
1930-1931 Reds 117 191 .380
1928-1929 Braves 106 201 .345
1925-1930 Red Sox 268 609 .306 6 straight seasons
1922-1924 Braves 160 300 .348 3 straight seasons
1921-1924 Phillies 213 399 .348 4 straight seasons
1919-1921 A’s 137 310 .306 3 straight seasons
1915-1917 A’s 134 324 .293 3 straight seasons
1914-1915 Naps/Indians 108 197 .354
1912-1913 Highlanders/Yankees 107 196 .353
1910-1913 Browns 202 411 .330 4 straight seasons
1909-1912 Doves/Rustlers/Braves 194 416 .318 4 straight seasons
1908-1909 Superbas 108 199 .352
1906-1907 Senators 104 197 .346
1905-1909 Cardinals 265 498 .347 5 straight seasons
1904-1905 Superbas 104 201 .341
1904-1905 Beaneaters 106 201 .345
1903-1904 Phillies 101 186 .352
1903-1904 Senators 81 207 .281
1901-1902 Giants 100 173 .366
1895-1898 Browns 147 395 .271 4 straight seasons
1883-1884 Quakers 56 154 .267
1883-1884 Alleghanys 61 145 .296

No streaks for these clubs…….

  • Angels
  • Brewers
  • Cubs
  • Diamondbacks
  • Mariners
  • Marlins
  • Rockies

The trouble in Houston is all about finances. It probably always boils down to that. The new owner, was put behind the 8 ball by MLB, which forced him to switch to the tougher American League. In the meantime, in order to buy the team, he had to borrow a lot of money. So they’re smartly trying to pay that back quickly, while building up some prospects in the minors.

Right now, the Astros AAA club in Oklahoma City (18-11), the AA club in Corpus Christi (18-11), and the Advanced A club in Lancaster (18-12), are all in 1st place in their respective divisions. The class A team in Quad City (17-11) ain’t doin’ half bad either, sittin’ 3 games back of the top of their division.

So clearly, the Astros won’t turn into the Pirates, who’ve been struggling to have just one .500 season since 21 years ago, or those late 1920’s Red Sox who lost tons of games for 6 straight seasons. Houston’s just in the midst of a historically bad rebuilding period.