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Don’t panic when the Rockies struggle in 2017

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The Rockies will struggle at some point in 2017, but all good teams go through that

The low point of the Rockies season so far might have come on April 27. That night, they lost their third straight game against the Nationals, and each of them was a drubbing. The Nationals scored 42 runs in those three games. Or, it might have come a few days ago on May 31, when the Rockies followed up two consecutive home losses to the Mariners with a loss in the first game in Seattle. But in both cases, the Rockies only lost three straight, which is the longest losing streak they’ve experienced thus far. The low point of the Rockies’ season hasn’t happened yet.

We should all be prepared to weather the inevitable stretch of bad games and piling L’s. It’s going to happen, because it always happens. Right now, the worst 15-game stretch the Rockies have had has been 8-7, which they’ve done a few times. That’s a good way to have a “bad” stretch of games, and it’s not going to hold throughout the season.

Fifteen game chunks work to illustrate the ups and downs of a baseball season. The tidy number of games is long enough to really start feeling the bad stretch of baseball. Even if the team is good, and you know it’s good, you also know that the baseball’s been bad for more than two weeks. It’s also long enough to highlight the capriciousness of the baseball season—good teams are also bad for a while.

For example, four examples. Here are the Rockies worst 15-game stretches in the team’s four best seasons, 1995, 2007, 2009, and 2010:

1995: 4-11

2007: 5-10

2009: 4-11

2010: 2-13

The 1995 team had its worst stretch at the beginning of August, and it severely damaged the team’s chances of winning the division. The 2007 and 2009 squads famously started out poorly, and both of their bad runs took place in the middle of April. The 2010 team, conversely, ended their season with that 2-13 sequence of games. Each of these stretches contributed to the narratives of the season. Some of them mislead a bit based on that sequencing, in terms of team quality if not drama.

Let’s expand it beyond the Rockies. Here are the worst 15-game stretches for every team to finish the season with the best record in baseball for the last ten years:

Great teams, bad 15-game stretches

Year Team Record Worst 15 game stretch Date of stretch
Year Team Record Worst 15 game stretch Date of stretch
2016 Cubs 103-58 4-11 June 25-July 9
2015 Cardinals 100-62 6-9 August 28-September 9
2014 Angels 98-64 6-9 September 13-28
2013 Red Sox 97-65 5-10 April 28-May 14
2013 Cardinals 97-65 4-11 July 28-August 10
2012 Nationals 98-64 6-9 June 15-30
2011 Phillies 102-60 4-11 September 11-24
2010 Phillies 97-65 4-11 May 18-June 25
2009 Yankees 103-59 5-10 April 24-May 9
2008 Angels 100-62 6-9 August 13-28
2007 Cleveland 96-66 5-10 July 29-August 14
2007 Red Sox 96-66 6-9 June 23-July 8

In these 12 team seasons, the best worst 15-game stretch is three games below .500, 6-9. That’s two games worse than the Rockies worst series of 15 games in 2017. In other words, it will get worse than the worst it’s been, but that doesn’t mean the team isn’t good and can’t end up in contention at the end of the season.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the Rockies will continue to play as well as they have. In fact, we’re feeling that right now, as the Rox lost to the Padres last night and have dropped five of their last seven. (They’re in the throes of an 8-7 stretch over their last 15, in case you were wondering.) The Rockies will have bad stretches. So, steel yourself for those five, six, or seven consecutive losses that will happen sometime. Mentally prepare to be let down that the win that broke the four game losing streak was followed by another four game losing streak. For that run of 15 games that will make you want to write the season off, know that it’s just part of a long season, other great teams have gone through it, and that the Rockies will be okay.

Probably.