Sunday, April 18, 2010


On Sunday, the Brewers extended their franchise record streak of consecutive games in which the pitching staff has given up four or more runs to 22 (including the last 10 games of last year).  It begs the question:  What is the Major League record for such a streak?

I have handy, a game log database of every Major League game back to 1960.  Since that time, here is the distribution of runs scored per team per game:

0 6%
1 11%
2 13%
3 14%
4 13%
5 11%
6 9%
7 7%
8 5%
9 3%
10 or more 7%

The most common number of runs a team scores in a game is three.  I didn't know that.

Based on these percentages, the probability that in a specific 22-game stretch a team would allow four or more runs every game just by chance is about 1 in 400,000.  The chance that it would happen at any point in a given season is about 1 in 2,500.  What this means in general terms is that it's very unlikely that this streak is happening just because of dumb luck.  It's far more likely that something is wrong with the Brewers pitching staff.  But you didn't need me to tell you that.  But I digress.

Back to my original question.  In 2006, the woeful Kansas City Royals had a 28-game streak in which their pitching staff allowed four runs or more.  From May 9th to June 8th - an entire month.  That's the longest streak since 1960.  The second longest was a 22-game streak - same as the Brewers current streak - by the Detroit Tigers in 1996.  The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays had 21-game streaks in 1993/94 and 1999 respectively.

The longest National League streaks in that time frame were a 19-game streak by the Cincinnati Reds in 2001, and an 18-game streak by the Brewers in 1999 - the old franchise 'record' that they broke last Thursday.

So, we've got another week.  If this run of futility persists, I'll go back and check years prior to 1960.  But let's hope it doesn't.  I've got plenty of things I'd rather do.

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