What do the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics have in common?
Each are poorly run franchises which are routinely spotted at the bottom of the standings. Each plays most of their home games in front of nearly empty stadiums – even in a non-COVID year.
Both have ugly color schemes. Both are consistently forgotten when trying to rattle off all 30 MLB teams. OK, enough enough.
How about this one. I’ll add a third team in there: What do the Rays, Athletics, and Chicago Cubs all have in common?
This one is a lot tougher, right? The Cubs have a rabid base of loyal fanatics who pack beautiful Wrigley Field each and every night so it has nothing to do with the fans.
The Cubs just won a World Series in 2016 and have been one of the better teams in the National League over the past 5 seasons … and the Cubs jerseys are sweet!
What on earth could these 3 teams have in common?
Now that I have piqued your interest, I’ll give you the classic, please scroll down deeper into the article to read what these 3 teams have in common. Also, check out a few of our site’s ads while you’re at it… pretty please?
Oh but wait! There’s more. As we get into July this becomes the dog days of summer. Did you know the half-way point of the 2021 MLB season is next week already? Time flies, huh?
The MLB season requires patience both to play in but also to follow. Those who jump to early conclusions after a couple of weeks of results are bound to look stupid.
Remember back when I said that the St. Louis Cardinals have the NL Central locked up? I came right out and told you – a group of my peers – that the St. Louis Cardinals’ lead in the NL Central was the safest division lead in baseball.
I said the Cardinals were more likely to win their division than the Mets were to win the NL East or than the White Sox were to win the AL Central.
Boy do I look dumb now. All right enough playing around, it’s time for me to write what you came here to read. Without further ado this is the MLB Monthly – June by the Numbers.
The number of people in the world who have never experienced an Arizona Diamondbacks victory.
That’s right. The UN reports that 385,000 babies are born each day meaning over 7 million of our world’s inhabitants were not alive the last time Arizona won a baseball game.
The 17-game losing streak in the desert created some eye-popping statistical anomalies. Diamondbacks pitchers posted an ERA of 7.00 during the streak – meaning they allowed exactly 119 earned runs in 17 games.
Arizona pitchers notched a strikeout rate of just 7.81 per 9 innings (4th-lowest mark in the league during this stretch) with a walk rate of 4.69 per 9 innings – the highest rate over this stretch. The next highest walk rate between June 2nd and 20th was the Cubs at 4.65 and then the Cardinals all the way down at 3.99.
The Arizona offense scored just 64 runs over their 17-game skid. The team lost these 17 games by an average score of 7 to 3.5.
The Diamondbacks seldom flexed their muscles during the losing streak – hitting just 11 homeruns. This was the fewest homeruns in the league by any team during this 19-day period.
Not only was Arizona lacking the pop but their wheels were not in effect. The DBacks swiped a grand total of 3 bases between June 2nd and 20th – only Boston (1) and the Yankees (2) stole fewer bags during this period.
The Diamondbacks hit just .216 as a team during this stretch – the 3rd-lowest mark in the Majors over this period. Only the Cardinals (.215) and Cubs (.175) were worse. Of these 3 teams, Arizona possessed the lowest ISO (.109) and lowest slugging percentage (.324).
Winning just 3 games in the month of June has put the Diamondbacks waaaaay in the cellar. Arizona’s record is a wimpy 22-57 which amounts to a winning percentage of 27.8%.
Extrapolated over a full season, Arizona is on pace for a 45-117 2021 campaign. Where does this put Arizona among the all-time worst teams in MLB history? Pretty low on the list … pretty low.
Pictured here is the Cleveland Spiders. This formidable-looking bunch was better at posing for pictures than they were at playing baseball. In 1899, the Spiders amassed a record of 20-134 over a full season of play. Yep, you read that correctly. 20-134!
This is a win rate of 13% – easily the lowest of any team in American or National League history. That’s pretty significant. The National League dates back to 1876.
The MLB switched over to the 162-game schedule at the beginning of the 1962 season – marking a new era in baseball history.
A brand new expansion franchise – the New York Mets – kicked off this era by embarking on the worst 162-game season ever recorded. The Mets won just 40 games in 1962 – a 40-120 record for a winning percentage of 25%.
This record was left alone until 2003 when the Detroit Tigers flirted with history. With a week remaining in the ’03 season Detroit was at risk of falling below the 40-win mark. The Tigers won 5 of 6 in that final week of 2003 to pull their record up to 43-119 – avoiding (utter) embarrassment by becoming the 2nd-worst team in the 162-game era.
43 wins is a winning percentage of 26.5%. At 27.8%, the 2021 DBacks are on pace for 45 wins and the 3rd-worst season of the 162-game era.
The number of wins by the Houston Astros during the month of May – making Houston the league’s winningest team this month.
Some call them the anti-Diamondbacks. The former trash can-banging Texas rebels have stormed up the standings in a competitive division to claim the best record in the American League and the 2nd-best record in all of baseball (behind the Giants).
The Dodgers’ average moneyline in the month of June – making LA the heaviest favorite in the MLB this month.
Below is the formula which derives the break even point for a team with a -186 moneyline.
Solving this formula for w (win rate) shows that 65% is the break even mark for LA. The Dodgers have won at a 62.5% clip this month. LA has actually eked out a small profit of $113 in June despite playing below 65%. This can happen if the Dodgers only lose games in which they are not heavy favorites – minimizing their losses.
The number of times the over cashed in a Los Angeles Angels game this month – making the Angels the most over-heavy team of the month.
The average total for the Angels in June was 8.7 which is tied for 11th-highest in the league (pretty middle of the pack).
This man has a lot to do with the overs hitting prevalently in LA.
The number of division lead changes between the beginning and end of May. The Red Sox, Astros, and Brewers are now leading their divisions despite being in 2nd place (or 3rd place in the Brewers case) at the beginning of the month.
Turn off your distractions, close your eyes, plug your nose, and take yourself back to June 1.
These were simpler times. The Tampa Bay Rays were the best team in the American League and led the AL East by 2 games over 2nd-place Boston.
The Oakland A’s were still playing inspired baseball and held a slim lead over the Houston Astros in the AL West.
The Chicago Cubs were the leaders of a tight, 3-team race in the NL Central ahead of the second-place Cardinals by half a game and the Milwaukee Brewers by 1 1/2 games.
Fast forward to today and each of these three teams are in second place.
Ahhhh that’s what I was asking about from earlier! The Rays, Athletics, and Cubs all share the fact they were in first place on June 1 and are now in second place in their divisions.
The Boston Red Sox now lead the AL East by half a game over Tampa (and a whopping 6 1/2 games over New York, but that’s for another day).
The Houston Astros are the hottest team in the league during June – winning 19 games this month – and are now leading the AL West by 2 games over Oakland.
Earlier in the season I maintained that the AL West was a 4-team race. The Astros and Athletics were battling for first with the Mariners and Angels not too far behind. A huge surge by the Astros, some losses by the Angels, and mediocrity from the Mariners has led to the formation of a big gap.
The Astros and A’s are now several games ahead of the Mariners and the Angels have fallen quite far. Poor Angels. Apparently having the two best players in the league on the same team is not enough. Maybe they should trade all their prospects for Ronald Acuna and Vladimir Guerrero. That might make them competitive.
I feel worse for the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League. The Cardinals were the ones leading the NL Central by a few games and seemed primed to hold onto that lead. Boy did I speak too soon when I predicted that.
At the end of June the Cardinals find themselves in fourth place and eight games back of the division leading Milwaukee Brewers. That’s right, even the Cincinnati Reds have leapfrogged St. Louis. Oh how the Red Birds have fallen.
The Cardinals are in abysmal 7-17 in the month of June. This is the second-worst June record in the entire MLB behind the Diamondbacks, of course.
During the month of June, moneyline Cardinals bettors lost over $1200. This is once again the second worst mark in baseball to the Diamondbacks who only won three games all June and disappointed millions of young fans between the ages of 1 and 19 days old.
The number of homeruns that Washington Nationals outfielder Kyle Schwarber hit during the month of June – the most by any hitter.
To be honest I forgot about this guy. Schwarber was a big power hitting prospect for the Cubs but a knee injury sabotaged the early part of his career. The Cubs gave up on the young husky outfielder and let him walk after 2020.
The Washington Afterthoughts (oops, I mean Nationals) took a chance on him and boy has it paid off!
On the season Schwarber is hitting .253 with 24 dingers (4th in the MLB), 52 RBIs, and 39 runs scored.
This month, Schwarber is hitting .293 with 15 homers, 29 RBIS, and 20 runs scored.
15 homeruns is the most ever in one month by a player in Expos/Nationals franchise history. Schwarber typically bats leadoff in our nation’s capital – giving him the all-time record for most homeruns in a single month by a leadoff hitter of any player in baseball history.
The number of bases stolen by Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna during the month of June – the most by any baserunner.
There’s a very legitimate question that Braves fans, Braves players, and anyone playing the Braves must ask themselves each and every night. Is Ronald Acuna the best to ever do it?
That’s a P4 in the books, by the way.
The Off score by Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero during the month of June – the highest of any MLB hitter this month.
Guerrero is, unsurprisingly, still leading the entire MLB in Off this season.
The number of wins by Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks during the month of June – the most by any pitcher in baseball.
Wins don’t matter. Nobody looks at wins anymore. Oh yeah? Tell that to Kyle Hendricks.
Born to John and Ann Marie Hendricks on December 7, 1989 in Newport Beach, CA – the entire Hendricks family has had one dream for their son: to win 5 Major League baseball games in one calendar month.
After working his entire life just to make the Major Leagues and then continuing to perfect his craft in order to hang around long enough to have a shot, Hendricks has finally accomplished it!
His life‘s work is now complete. Kyle Hendricks has won 5 games in the month of June and is a perfect 5-0 with a 2.97 ERA and less than 2 walks per 9 innings.
Unfortunately, because pitchers are allowed to dip their hands in buckets of glue before they go out to the mound Hendricks is like the 8th best pitcher in the National League and might get one inning in the All-Star game if he’s lucky.
The ERA by Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo during the month of June.
Luis Castillo was historically awful to begin the 2021 season. Few pitchers receive as long a leash as Castillo was granted which allowed him to absolutely destroy his statline by mid-May.
Let me tell you a narrative: Imagine a fantasy baseball owner in a keeper league. This owner inherited the worst team in the league and immediately began selling old players.
This owner came in and dealt a 35-year-old Justin Verlander for draft picks and the 98-year-old Matt Carpenter for a couple of prospects.
After one season of being the worst team in the league this fantasy owner started to see some progress. A couple of his young prospects were beginning to bud into stardom and a few of the draft picks paid off as solid starting players.
This owner then made the playoffs of his fantasy season in the shortened COVID year of 2020. Expectations were high for 2021, but his team started sucking again. He wasn’t too discouraged because he had the injured Eloy Jimenez, the struggling JP Crawford, and the struggling Keston Hiura.
He knew he just had to be patient and eventually his team would be all right. Regardless of why he was struggling he knew he needed to start selling some players in 2021. One of those he needed to deal was Giancarlo Stanton. This owner had rostered Stanton for three seasons and was sick of his frequent trips to the injury list and the fact that he was only eligible at DH.
Magically one day the owner clicks on a trade request to find a blockbuster, 5-player deal which involved getting a package of pitchers for Stanton – the key piece being Reds starter Luis Castillo.
Castillo was having a horrible – and I mean absolutely horrendous – start to 2021. This fantasy owner was patient and more than willing to buy Castillo in order to get rid of Giancarlo Stanton.
This fantasy owner I’ve been describing is me… so yeah… I’m pretty excited that Castillo is turning it around. End of story.