Breaking down our losses
I started drafting this yesterday, so it doesn't include yesterday's game, but here goes:
Going into yesterday's loss, we had lost 15 out of 20 games. People are wondering what has changed and some of it is obvious. Some of it isn't.
Yes, it is obvious that many of these losses have been one-run games. But for example, did you know that of those 15 losses, we had the lead in 12 of them? Outside of the 1-0 9th inning loss to Philly (that we obviously couldn't lead in), the 3-2 loss to Roy Oswalt and the 14-1 drubbing the Astros put on us when Clemens was pitching, we have had the lead in every other game in this horrendous losing streak.
This makes you realize that we have reversed trends completely. Before, our bats would fail to wake up until the 6th or 7th if not later, we would score as many as we needed to to win, and our relief staff would keep us in the game until we won it. The opposite has happened this month. Our starters have been stellar. We've actually scored a run or two early in a lot of these games. But then our offense completely dies, the other team chips away at our tiny leads, and then our relief staff blows it. In fact, of the 15 losses, 10 were credited to relievers. Our huge strength in the first half of the season has therefore become a weakness. Although, in their defense, it is not like we can say they have performed awfully. When you go into the 7th tied in a bunch of games and never ever score any runs after that, eventually the other team will score. I feel like when we get into a tie game lately that I am just waiting for the other team to score because it plainly feels like we can't.
Have you gotten the feeling that we enter these streaks each game where our offense just dies and we don't see a hit for innings on end? So did I. So, I looked into it to see if I was just imagining it. Unfortunately no. Here is a list of our 15 losses, and the bad hitting streaks we have encountered (two caveats: I don't have walks included, just hits/at bats; and I don't know if it is fairly common for a team to have a bad few innings each game on average. It is hard to imagine that the average team regulaly gets into ruts this bad though).
First loss, 5-3 to NYM: 1 for 12 stretch.
Second loss, 5-2 to NYM: 1 for 17 stretch.
Third loss, 3-2 to NYM: 2 for 16 stretch.
Fourth loss, 1-0 to Philly: 1 for 13 and a 1 for 11 stretch.
Fifth loss, 5-4 to Philly: 1 for 9 and a 2 for 13 stretch.
Sixth loss, 4-2 to Milwaukee: 0 for 15 stretch to end the game.
Seventh loss, 4-3 to Milwaukee: 0 for 8 and a second 0 for 8 stretch to end the game.
Eighth loss, 5-3 to Milwaukee: 1 for 17 stretch (and the 1 was out in a dp).
Ninth loss, 5-4 to Colorado: 3 for 18 stretch to end the game.
Tenth loss, 3-2 to Colorado: 2 for 19 stretch.
Eleventh loss, 3-2 to Houston: 0 for 7 stretch (suprisingly we scattered hits against Oswalt).
Twelvth loss, 14-1 to Houston: the whole game was a bad stretch, 3 hits off Clemens.
Thirteenth loss, 4-1 to Houston in 14: 0 for 13 stretch and 1 for 30 to end the game!!
Fourteenth loss, 3-2 to Atlanta in 10: 1 for 16 stretch to end the game.
Fifteenth loss, 4-3 to Atlanta: 2 for 21 stretch and 0 for 6 to end the game.
You can take the above as meaning nothing or a lot, but my guess is there aren't that many teams that so consistently fall asleep at the plate for 3, 4, 5 innings at a time like we do.