9/27: The Race to the Bottom

As we sit here today on the 27th of September, we, as baseball fans, put so much thought into pennant races, wild cards, and playoff brackets. However, there is an untold story brewing right before our eyes and we aren’t even seeing it. Let’s give it up for the race to the bottom.

Nobody has ever said that losing is without its perks. Take the Cubs, for example. After such a long, storied weathering of a storm, the sweet taste of victory was made all the more delicious. And, after so much heartbreak, the reward has been nothing short of remarkable.

For this reason, we want to take a look at the worst records in baseball and see how that race is looking. Who knows. This year’s troubled team could be next year’s champion of choice…

As of 9/27, here are the top five clubs (at failing) in Major League Baseball:

26. Cincinnati Reds: 66-91

Cincinnati Reds' Disappointment

The first club on our list of “rebuilders” are those guys out in Cincinnati. While we aren’t too keen on how things have shaped up for the Reds this year, there are some bright spots for these guys. For instance, they’ve got Joey Votto! And that’s just one great one item on a laundry list of great things about this squad. Case in point? Look, uh, erm – Joey Votto!

We’re kidding. As dismal as the Reds’ record looks this year, they scored the 7th most runs in the National League in 2017. That’s nothing to snub your nose at, folks. Truthfully, the reason that the Reds had a tough time this year started – and ended – with the pitching staff. Unfortunately, they are the owners of the worst ERA in the league at 5.21, giving up 804 runs in (well, less than at this point) 162 games. That’s probably not a recipe for success.

So, for you Reds fans out there, this year isn’t a complete disaster, right?! I mean, there’s Joey Votto!

Got you again. But, really, the offense for the Reds this year was plenty enough to get it done so that’s an entire half of the game that the Cincinnati club covered well. Just shore up some of that pitching staff and the Reds are gold! Yay, colors!

27. Chicago White Sox: 64-93

Chicago White Sox's Disappointment

Chi-Town must be feeling pretty small for the White Sox these days. With the other guys on their side of town doing pretty well for themselves, it’s gotta be difficult being the only ones not wearing Cubs gear around. But it’s okay, White Sox! We still love you! And, ya know, as far as making the best of a bad situation, things could be looking up for these guys.

Let’s start with what probably needs to change. The pitching staff posted a 4.81 ERA this year which put them in the bottom three for that statistic in the AL. Probably not the conventional way of doing things. And, well, the offense is only a tick better. They placed 10th in run scoring and average this year so that might not be the greatest thing in the world either. They did hit the most triples in the AL, though, so maybe that is something to build an offense around?

In all seriousness, though, the prospects are there for the White Sox. Lucas Giolito. Carson Fulmer. Yoan Moncada. Studs. These guys could be serious game changers for the White Sox as soon as next year, making them our dark horse for a 100 win club next year. Yeah, we said it.

28. Philadelphia Phillies: 63-95

Philadelphia Phillies' Disappointment

We’re going to admit this and we feel kind of bad about it. The spark that ignited this post had to do with the Fightin’ Phils. We saw a publication that was titled “THE PHILLIES HAVE CLINCHED A FINISH ABOVE 100 LOSSES!!!” and we giggled – like men. And that got our minds jogging (not running) on who the other unfortunate teams around the league were this year. But let’s see if we can channel some of the optimism from that post into some numbers, shall we?!

Okay, well, we mind as well start with the obvious. Rhys Hoskins. The guys smashes baseballs like they’re trying to date his sister. I mean if I was a baseball and I was being sent to Phillies game that day, I would try to call in sick. Because that guy is upset with baseballs. Beyond, Rhys, though, the Phillies had a tough offensive year slashing just .249/.313/.407 as a group, good enough for the 12th best offense in the NL.

And when it comes to pitching, we’ve got pretty much the same top-heavy story. Aaron Nola has led the way with a 3.54 ERA – and then nobody else really seems to want to play with him. The rest of the group cobbled together a 4.59 team ERA (and that’s including Nola’s help) so, again, it just looks like the Phillies need to round out the group.

All in all, what can we say for the Phillies? There are some bright spots, that’s for sure. All that it’s going to take is a few more studs to come through the pipeline and they’ve got a nice, little squad. Any Phillies fans want to enlighten us on who to watch for in the comments section?

29. Detroit Tigers: 62-95

Detroit Tigers' Disappointment

Oh, boy. Here’s one that kinda hurts. After some good years of prominence, the Tigers have reached that downslope (alright, cliff face) that everyone knew was heading their way. Having sold off the pitching staff that made the club so great over the past few years, it looks like the Detroit Tigers have hit the wall.

So, let’s start with the bad news, shall we? The Tigers pitching staff threw to the worst ERA in the American League so there’s that. At a team 5.38 ERA, you probably can’t be expecting much to go your way. But, to be honest, they had a fair amount of quality starts at 71 so you could say that they starting staff was at least a lukewarm plus.

But here’s the good news, Tiger fans. The offense is close – not that that should be shocking at all. I mean, Miguel Cabrera is in there and he’s perfectly fine even on a down year. Ian Kinsler had a bit of a rough ride in 2017 and he could make all the difference to the club. And Mikie Mahtook is a young buck that can really bring something nice to the lineup that these Tigers really need. So, like we said: close.

As much as we would like to, we can’t really say that the Tigers are close overall, though. The relief pitching isn’t good enough to pick up wins that the average starting staff gives them. And if they aren’t going to score an overwhelming amount of runs…

Time to start preparing mentally for the next championship window, fellas.

30. San Francisco Giants: 62-97

San Francisco Giants' Disappointment

Is it still relevant for Giants fans to be yelling “IT’S AN ODD YEAR! JUST WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR! EVEN YEAR, EVEN YEAR, EVEN YEAR!”? We don’t know but if they want it, they can have it. Because it’s looking a lot like the Baseballers by the Bay are going to take home this year’s toughest record.

But we’re going to see if we can polish this turd up a little for the Giants fans out there. Let’s see. Well, the star power is there so that is nice. Madison Bumgarner is Madison Bumgarner. Johnny Cueto had a down year by his standards but still held an even 8-8 record. And Brandon Crawford won’t ever stop defending his position as well as he does just like Buster Posey won’t ever stop hitting.

After that, though…My grandmother could take a shot at playing on this club. Next to last in the National League in hitting isn’t going to do it when the pitching staff is pretty much average. And, mind you, the pitching was pretty much average playing half their games at the graveyard of AT&T Park. Somebody sabermetric that and you’ll probably see a more disappointing story about this year’s Giants pitching. (I would but I’m just so damn lazy.)

Giants fans: We salute you. You had a difficult year this year. But ya know what? You survived, you animals. And we think there is some pride that should be taken in that.

If you’re a looooooser! Ha!

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