History isn't on Red Sox side after 10-game losing streak

The Red Sox stopped the bleeding with a win Monday.
The Red Sox stopped the bleeding with a win Monday. (USATSI)

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The good news for the Boston Red Sox is their 10-game losing streak is over. The bad news is that history indicates teams losing at least 10 games in a row in a season almost never make the playoffs.

Notice that I said "almost" because, yes, it has happened before. Using baseball-reference.com's streaks analyzer, I was able to find two instances in history that a team lost at least 10 games in a row in a season and still made the postseason.

The 1982 Braves lost 11 games in a row from Aug. 3 through Aug. 13. In fact, their streakiness was uncanny. They lost 19 of 21 games from July 30 through Aug. 18, but then went on a run where they won 13 of their next 15. They would win the NL West with an 89-73 record before being swept in the NLCS by the Cardinals.

The other team to drop 10 straight and then make the postseason? The 1951 Giants. They lost 10 straight from April 19 (second game of doubleheader) through April 29. They were off to a dreadful 2-12 start after that losing streak. They would end up in the World Series after Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World." After that shot, they ended up with a record of 98-59 and the NL pennant. They had several extended stretches of winning, including a 16-game winning streak. They erased a 13-game deficit in the standings in just over six weeks. It's one of the most miraculous comebacks in MLB history.

It isn't surprising that only twice in MLB history has a team lost 10 straight and made the playoffs. First of all, that's a pretty rough blow to absord in the standings. Secondly, good teams generally find a way to avoid double-digit losing streaks.

Can these Red Sox join the extremely short list?

Well, from the perspective of the defending World Series champions, they'll either need to follow in the footsteps of the miracle Giants or the mediocre Braves. Given the level of play thus far in the AL East, they might be able to pull off something similar to the Braves in '82.

Not only that, but we have to consider that baseball's playoff field has expanded several times in recent years. Getting a second wild card isn't nearly as tall an order as having the best record in the league -- which was long the requirement for a postseason trip.

Still, history says the Red Sox face a serious uphill climb.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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