A Win, a Loss (ad infinitum)

The New York Jets set an NFL record this weekend despite losing to the Bills 37-14.  As ESPN.com reported:

“The Jets (5-5), coming off their bye, continued their string of inconsistent outings by becoming the NFL’s first team to alternate wins and losses through the first 10 games of the season.”

This got the VORG thinking of the baseball equivalent for this unusual circumstance.  What is the MLB record for a team alternating wins and losses to start a season?  To answer this, we loaded up the Retrosheet gamelogs and put each team/season in game order, then looked for W-L-W or L-W-L patterns.

We can proclaim with reasonable certainty that the 1997 Yankees hold the record at 11, as follows:

Gm# Date Opp R RA W-L
1 Tuesday, Apr 1 SEA L 2 4 0-1
2 Wednesday, Apr 2 SEA W 16 2 1-1
3 Friday, Apr 4 OAK L 2 4 1-2
4 Saturday, Apr 5 OAK W 10 5 2-2
5 Sunday, Apr 6 OAK L 0 3 2-3
6 Monday, Apr 7 ANA W 5 3 3-3
7 Tuesday, Apr 8 ANA L 9 10 3-4
8 Wednesday, Apr 9 ANA W 12 5 4-4
9 Friday, Apr 11 OAK L 1 3 4-5
10 Sunday, Apr 13 (1) OAK W 3 2 5-5
11 Sunday, Apr 13 (2) OAK L 4 7 5-6
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/19/2013.

The ’97 Yankees do NOT have the longest-such streak within a single season however.  That record is 15 games, and it has been achieved three times:

1974 Phillies – games 52-66

Gm# Date Opp R RA W-L
52 Tuesday, Jun 4 ATL L 3 7 28-24
53 Wednesday, Jun 5 ATL W 4 2 29-24
54 Friday, Jun 7 CIN L 4 7 29-25
55 Saturday, Jun 8 CIN W 6 5 30-25
56 Sunday, Jun 9 CIN L 7 14 30-26
57 Monday, Jun 10 HOU W 12 0 31-26
58 Tuesday, Jun 11 HOU L 1 10 31-27
59 Wednesday, Jun 12 HOU W 3 0 32-27
60 Friday, Jun 14 CIN L 4 7 32-28
61 Saturday, Jun 15 CIN W 5 2 33-28
62 Sunday, Jun 16 CIN L 0 5 33-29
63 Monday, Jun 17 HOU W 7 5 34-29
64 Tuesday, Jun 18 HOU L 0 1 34-30
65 Wednesday, Jun 19 HOU W 5 4 35-30
66 Thursday, Jun 20 NYM L 1 2 35-31
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/19/2013.

1981 Dodgers – games 54-68, with the added bonus of it starting prior to, and continuing after the player’s strike stoppage that resulted in the “split season” disaster

Gm# Date Opp R RA W-L
54 Sunday, Jun 7 CHC W 7 0 35-19
55 Tuesday, Jun 9 STL L 1 6 35-20
56 Wednesday, Jun 10 STL W 4 1 36-20
57 Thursday, Jun 11 STL L 1 2 36-21
58 Monday, Aug 10 CIN W 4 0 37-21
59 Tuesday, Aug 11 CIN L 6 7 37-22
60 Wednesday, Aug 12 CIN W 8 5 38-22
61 Thursday, Aug 13 ATL L 1 9 38-23
62 Friday, Aug 14 ATL W 5 0 39-23
63 Saturday, Aug 15 ATL L 4 6 39-24
64 Sunday, Aug 16 ATL W 6 5 40-24
65 Monday, Aug 17 CHC L 1 3 40-25
66 Tuesday, Aug 18 CHC W 5 0 41-25
67 Wednesday, Aug 19 CHC L 3 4 41-26
68 Friday, Aug 21 STL W 4 0 42-26
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/19/2013.

2010 Colorado Rockies – games 106-120

Gm# Date Opp R RA W-L
106 Tuesday, Aug 3 SFG L 0 10 55-51
107 Wednesday, Aug 4 SFG W 6 1 56-51
108 Thursday, Aug 5 PIT L 1 5 56-52
109 Friday, Aug 6 PIT W 6 3 57-52
110 Saturday, Aug 7 PIT L 7 8 57-53
111 Sunday, Aug 8 PIT W 8 4 58-53
112 Tuesday, Aug 10 NYM L 0 1 58-54
113 Wednesday, Aug 11 NYM W 6 2 59-54
114 Thursday, Aug 12 NYM L 0 4 59-55
115 Friday, Aug 13 MIL W 5 4 60-55
116 Saturday, Aug 14 MIL L 4 5 60-56
117 Sunday, Aug 15 MIL W 6 5 61-56
118 Tuesday, Aug 17 LAD L 0 6 61-57
119 Wednesday, Aug 18 LAD W 3 2 62-57
120 Thursday, Aug 19 LAD L 0 2 62-58
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/19/2013.

 

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