The Post All-Star Break period started so well, but then the calendar turned to August…
The Good News
The Astros are terrible. Like all-time, record-breaking, epic terrible. As a point of reference, they were once 22-24. Since that day they’ve compiled an 18-66 record. That’s a .214 winning percentage – the equivalent of a 35 win season. With a 40-90 record, they’ve gone 9-47 since June 26; and sitting 9 wins back, they’d need a huge turnaround to finish ahead of the Cubs.
The Bad News
Houston is moving to the AL in 2013. Ok, that’s only part of it. As I think most of us know by now, the Cubs are 6-20 in August with only two games to go. Increasingly the question becomes, will they lose 100? Very likely. Or will they grab the title of ‘worst Cubs team ever’ with 104 losses? Possible. In 1962 & 1966 the Cubs lost 103 games. The .364 winning percentage in those years is the worst in franchise history.
Right now, the Cubs’ .380 winning percentage has them sitting fourth all-time on the franchise list. Even though they are 16-28 since the All-Star Game, they had been 10-8 in late-July. Remarkably, in four other seasons they’ve performed worse after the All-Star Break (’56, ’74, ’80, ’99). In the worst of those years the Cubs were 26-51 (.338), and that was just in 1999! But if August is any indication as to how the Cubs will finish the season, expect a 57-105 record. Unbelievably, the Cubs franchise ‘low’ isn’t really that low…
Relatively Good News, Relatively
The Cubs current franchise low (59-103) is tied for the 131st worst record in MLB history. The MLB list is littered with seasons from long ago – Philadelphia, Oakland, Boston, Baltimore, and Atlanta in particular had several teams on this list from the early-mid 1900s (in several cases, those franchises were in other cities at that point). Even the arch-rival Cardinals make the list several times, their worst record being 43-94 in 1903 (and that team was the beneficiary of some luck, their Pythagorean win percentage had them as merely a 42 win team).
Just for fun, let’s assume the Cubs don’t win again. Besides the fact that we would have the most bitter, self-flagellating, angst filled recaps imaginable we’d also finish 49-113. That would be (depending on what the Astros do – or more accurately, don’t do) the 23rd worst record of all-time. Only 3 of those seasons come after 1945 (’52 Pirates, ’62 Mets, ’03 Tigers).
I still say we finish somewhere between 55 and 62 wins (I know, I’m really going out on a limb there). But increasingly it seems we’ll be on the low end of that, and title of ‘worst Cubs team ever’ will be taken and bestowed on this team – hopefully, for all time.
(This post was written before today’s game, which
–shocker!–looks like it will be another loss the Cubs just won in dramatic fashion. -ed.)