Let’s get right to the point: when the Red Sox dropped their 10th straight game on Sunday, they became the 80th team in the wildcard era to lose as at least 10 consecutive games in a season Of the previous 79, not a single one made the playoffs.
And yet, I still think the Red Sox have every chance to win the compost pile of mediocrity that is the 2014 American League East.
At this stage, the best comparison to the Sox may be the 2005 San Diego Padres, who, from July 17-31, lost eight straight and 12-of-13. (Jake Peavy went 13-7 for that team and can speak to this phenomenon.) The Padres needed a win on the final day of the season to finish with a winning record – 82-80 – but they made the playoffs. Of course, they were unceremoniously swept in the first round, but you get the idea. The San Diego baseball season was hardly lost.
And then, naturally, there are the 2007 Colorado Rockies, who lost eight straight and 9-of-10 from June 22 to July 1. Again, the damage was done later in the season. The Rockies appeared dead with roughly two weeks to go in the season, then won 14-of-15 (including a one-game divisional playoff) to end the regular season and another seven straight (making them 22-1 over a 23-game stretch) before being swept by the Red Sox in the World Series.
In the cases of both the 2005 Padres (82-80) and the 2007 Rockies (89-73), neither team won 90 games over its original 162-game schedule. The Rockies only claimed their 90th after forcing a one-game playoff, which counted as a regular season game.
The bottom line: the best thing the Red Sox have going for them right now is that their division smells.