Hitting Rock Bottom - the Aftermath

I'm not sure if we've hit rock bottom for 2008, but I certainly hope so. I don't think it gets much worse than blowing a five run lead with two outs in the ninth to extend a losing streak to ten. Here are the longest losing streaks of the last several seasons, and how the Royals responded afterwards.

2000 - The Royals were pretty decent that season with their franchise-record setting offense. They got off to a hot 8-3 start, only to go on a nine game road trip in which they failed to win a single game. After bottoming out with a ninth straight loss on April 23, the Royals finally snapped the losing streak with a "walk off reach-on-error" to beat the Devil Rays. They won ten of their next thirteen games.

2001 - July is a hot month in Kansas City, but in 2001, the Royals were ice cold. After losing a close 2-1 games in Cleveland, the Royals were swept by the lowly Tigers and went on a nine game losing streak. They bottomed out on July 13 by getting just one hit against Todd Ritchie in Pittsburgh, the second straight game in which they had been shutout. They exploded for seven runs the next day to finally snap the losing skid, and went on to go 6-6 in their next 12 games.

2002 - Interleague play was not kind to the Royals in 2002. After dropping a 13-5 loss to the Marlins on June 12, the Royals traveled to St. Louis to get swept, to Montreal to get swept, and blew a 3-2 lead in the 8th against the Mets in Shea Stadium. Paul Byrd, having a career season, was the streak-stopper, beating the Mets 5-1. They went on to sweep the Tigers and take two of three from the Padres. In late July, they went on a nine game win streak.

2003 - The 2003 Royals never lost more than four games in a row. !Nosotros Creamos!

2004 - After dropping two games against the Orioles, the Royals went on to get swept by the Padres. They then went to Minnesota where they were just plain embarrassing, failing to score a single run the entire three game series, while allowing 25 runs. They bounced back the next night in Baltimore, winning 7-0 and snapping the eight game losing streak. The won the series against the O's, and took revenge on the Twins by taking three of four against them in KC, but the Royals would slump again with an eight game losing streak, and two five game losing streaks just a few weeks later.

2005 - The streak. This might quite possibly be the "hitting rock bottom" for the Royals franchise. It began with a sweep in Tampa Bay. Yes, the Devil Rays swept us. Predictably, the Red Sox swept us in Fenway. The A's destroyed us. A 16-1 shellacking shook even the hardiest Royals fan. Then, to prove it wasn't a fluke, the A's beat us again 11-0. Then the "Chip Ambres" game. It looked like the streak would end at nine. The Royals led  the Indians 7-2 going in to the 9th. Mike MacDougal came in to end things.







Fielder's Choice.

At this point it is 7-6, but there are two outs. Retire light-hitting Jeff Liefer and the game is over. MacDougal induced an easy pop-fly out of Liefer.....only to have left-fielder Chip Ambres drop the ball. The Indians would score eleven runs that inning and win 13-7.



Oh the humanity!

The streak would continue! The Indians went on to sweep the Royals. The Tigers came to town. Jose Lima, who was historically awful that season, actually gave us a great  game, one run allowed in nine innings. We lost 1-0. The A's blanked us again, 4-0. We were garnering national attention as the streak extended to nineteen. We were quite certain the Royals would never win a game ever again. Finally, Mike Wood had enough and pitched a gem (he also pitched the gem in the Chip Ambres game) and the bullpen protected the 2-1 lead to snap the streak.

The Royals would take two of three from the A's, and two of three from the Red Sox. They then dropped ten of their next twelve.

2006 -  The Royals began the season 2-2 before dropping eleven in a row, including sweeps by the Yankees, Devil Rays and White Sox. Not a great way to start the season. To prove it wasn't a fluke, a week later, they dropped six in a row. Amazingly, Buddy Bell still kept his job. The Royals righted the ship briefly with a sweep of the Indians, but then blew a 7-4 ninth inning lead in Baltimore the next night. The Orioles swept them.  The Indians swept them. The Cardinals swept them. The Tigers swept them (hey both pennant winners!). When the smoke cleared, the Royals had lost thirteen in a row and stood 10-35, 22 games back, and it wasn't quite yet Memorial Day. Royals General Manager Allard Baird DID lose his job. The Royals responded by losing even more games - dropping twelve of their next eighteen.  Bless you Pittsburgh Pirates, for allowing the Royals to finally sweep you in June.

2007 - It was a new era in Kansas City and the plucky Royals were coming off a run in which they had won eight of ten when they dropped a 10-3 game to the Indians. Then the Mariners came to town with a vengeance, outscoring the Royals 26-6 in a three game sweep. Then the Orioles marched in to Kansas City, and continued their domination of the Royals with another sweep. A short seven game losing streak was finally halted the next night in Tampa Bay. The Royals won ten of their next seventeen, including two games in which they scored seventeen runs.

So there you have it. This team has had it much, much worse before. Have we hit rock bottom for this season? I hope so. What will be important to see is how this team reacts. They can pack it in, like the 2006 edition. Hard to see how a team inspired by Buddy Bell can be that unmotivated, huh? Or they can turn things around quickly like the 2000 and 2007 teams. With a young team like this and a new manager, I'd guess the latter. Its not too late in the season to think this team can't turn thing around and at least make a run towards .500. This fan will still be watching and hoping.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.