Winning (and Losing) Streaks of 2014
By Matt Seto
It shouldn’t be any secret that I’m rooting for the Royals as they make their way to the World Series next week. If there’s one team that deserves it its the Royals. Nearly 30 years and back-to-back-to-back losing seasons has jaded the KC fans, and their time is finally here. But are they really that good? Maybe. One thing is for sure the Royals are getting super hot at just the right time in their season. They’re 8-0 in their last 8 games, including one of the best wild card matchups I’ve ever seen. This winning streak is exactly the type of thing that wins Championships.
This might be a good opportunity to take a look at some of the Mariners’ streaks from this season. After all, if the Royals can manage to sneak into the wild card game and then run the table in the American League, surely the Mariners could have done the same.
The Mariners could definitely be defined as a streaky team in 2014. The beginning of the season marked their longest streak of the season, and it wasn’t a good one. The Mariners lost 8 straight games from April 15th to the 22nd, on route to an April that saw them finish 10-14. That streak was hard for all of us. That was before we all had hope for the season, and it almost seemed like things were over before they began. The worst part about that streak was who the M’s lost to: the Rangers, the Astros and the Marlins. The one that did it for me was a walkoff loss to the Marlins that saw Giancarlo Stanton hit a walk-off grand slam off of Yoervis Medina. I vividly remember digging my nails into the couch and gritting my teeth while attempting to subdue my rage.
The season was bookended with losing streaks too. Just when the Mariners needed to start winning some games to secure their wild card birth, they went on a horrendous 5-game skid. This was the ultimate example of failing to capitalize on an opportunity as Oakland was having a Mariners-esque meltdown of their own. Yet again the AL West spoilers were in on the action. The Mariners lost 2 of 3 to the Astros and then went on to lose 3 of 4 to the Blue Jays. Those were some painful, painful games to watch as even Felix Hernandez got his ass handed to him in a start that many were saying might have lost him the Cy-Young in Toronto. Felix went only 4.2 innings for 6 hits and 4 earned runs (note: originally he was charged with 8, but a bunt single was later ruled an error and he was off the hook for subsequent runs).
If the Royals are getting hot at the right time, the Mariners blew it and were ice cold for this one. Not only did they lose, but they were blown out over those games. The final run total over those 5 games was 10-43.
There were a few bright spots for the season too though. Of course we all remember the 4-game winning streak to end the season. Just in time to miss the playoffs by one game. The Mariners also had a few others during the season. There was a 5-game streak in September that saw two wins in Oakland and a sweep of the Rangers. Anotehr 5-gamer that saw them beat the White Sox and sweep the Jays. How about yet another 5-gamer that saw a sweep of KC on the road and then two more in Boston? I was at one of those road games in KC and the Royals were coming off of a 10 game winning streak of their own, only to be devastated by the Mariners who had gotten hot themselves.
That’s right, the Royals have done this already in 2014. From June 7th to the 18th, the Royals won 10 straight games, and then went on to lose 7 of their next 10. Which is exactly my point. Streaks will make or break your season.
In the European soccer leagues they don’t even have playoffs (well, some European soccer leagues). Being streaky and winning it in the playoffs doesn’t truly indicate who is the best team, it just indicates who’s the hottest at the time. What they don’t take into account is just how exciting it is to watch a team like the Royals make a run like that, and who knows, maybe next year it could be the Mariners.