Why an 0-4 Start Isn't So Bad

Losing is never fun. Not fun to watch and  certainly not fun to be part of. Even in Little League where everyone gets a trophy, losing still sucks. Sure, the team mom brings out orange slices, but they're bitter, infused with the taste defeat.

Starting a season on any type of prolonged losing streak is bound to get a fan base anxious, but it's not the end of the world. I searched the baseball-reference.com Play Index for teams that have gone 0-4 to start a season. Here are the results of the 200 queries that were returned:

Won Division:

1969 Twins: 97-65

1999 Diamondbacks: 100-62

1977 Phillies: 101-61

1974 Pirates: 88-74

1995 Reds: 85-59

1985 Cardinals: 101-61

1897 Beaneaters: 93-39

Made Playoffs:

1981 Astros: 61-49

Had Winning Record:

1998 Dodgers: 83-79

1977 Red Sox: 97-64

1993 Royals: 84-78

1889 Reds: 76-63

1928 A's: 98-55

1991 Rangers: 85-77

1950 Giants: 86-68

1991 Mariners: 83-79

1894 Giants: 88-44

1931 Robins: 85-77

1952 White Sox: 81-73

1980 Braves: 81-80

1983 Astros: 85-77

1905 Americans: 78-74

1976 Dogers: 92-70

1978 Orioles: 90-71

1970 Dodgers: 87-74

1959 Pirates: 78-76

1996 Red Sox: 85-77

1944 Tigers: 88-66

1989 Red Sox: 83-79

1957 Reds: 80-74

1998 Padres: 83-78

1941 Reds: 88-66

1895 Spiders: 84-46

1960 Cardinals: 86-68

1925 Browns: 82-71

2005 Mets: 83-79

1922 Tigers: 79-75

1930 Yankees: 86-68

1903 Reds: 74-65

1984 Orioles: 85-77

1987 Expos: 91-71

1912 Pirates: 93-58

1962 Braves: 86-76

1937 Bees: 79-73

I present you this exhaustive list in its entirety to drive home a point. Losing streaks happen. Where they happen in a season has no relevance on a team's talent level. Take the 2008 Rays for example. I find them more comparable to this team than the 2010 version due to the reliance on young and unknown players. That team had two four game streaks and one seven gamer. If that seven game losing streak had been at the beginning of the season people would have written the team off just as easily as they are right now.

Look at the 1985 Cardinals. They had three separate four game losing streaks that season. I'm not insinuating that the Rays are going to win 101 games and the World Series. I'm just showing you that these things can happen to the best of teams as well. The Rays may not be as good as the '85 Cards, but are they better than the '91 Rangers, '80 Braves, '05 Mets among others? Probably.

JB Long pointed out on Twitter last night that the Rays 2-5 hitters are 5/59 (.085) thus far and the team as a whole is hitting ~.200. It's literally impossible for that to keep up. The hits will eventually fall. Will this team go on a crazy tear and end up in the playoffs? It's possible. Will they end up sub .500 and in last place like some are suggesting? Certainly not. There are 44 teams on the list above.

While 44 out of 200 isn't a fantastic percentage, it still gives reason for optimism. It's only been four games, after all.

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