We have to expand the parameters significantly, to get a decent sample. For the original study, we had 37 teams with 1-5 records, going back only to 1998. 4-14 is a good deal harder to accomplish. Indeed, since 1998, it has only been done eight times: the 1999 Orioles, 1998 and 2000 Tigers, 2004 Expos, 2006 and 2012 Royals, 2009 Nationals and 2013 Marlins. To get a more reasonable sample size, I've included a) teams with four wins or less, not just exactly four, and b) expanded the time-frame covered, back to the wave of expansion which brought us the Mets, etc. in the early sixties.
That gives us the 30 roughest starts in the past half-century or so. I've also eliminated teams who played in truncated seasons (the 1981 Cubs, the 1994 Padres and 1995 Marlins). It's amusing: for all the talk about the 1994 Expos being robbed by the strike which ended the season, the Padres that year were on pace for 97 losses, and were saved by the dispute. I note with ironic amusement that their scouting director that year was some guy called Kevin Towers. Whatever happened to him? Anyway, here are the other 27 teams, with their record over the first 18 games, the rest of the way, and total record.
|First 18||Rest of year||Overall|
If things looked wobbly when we had lost five of our first six (an average final record of 73-89), things have gone further south since. Partly, it's because we now include the historically truly awful teams like the 119-loss 2003 Tigers, who could only aspire to going 4-14, but the average mark of teams the rest of the way is just 61-82. That would leave the 2014 Diamondbacks matching the 1998 and 2010 for the second-worst record in franchise history, at 65 wins. Of these 27 teams, only five played .500 or better the rest of the way - an even split takes us to a 76-86 record - and one, the 1996 Red Sox did still finish above .500 despite the start.
So, there's still hope. Just not very much.