This is mostly just my own curiosity, as the losing streak got longer and longer, and the holy-crap-this-is-so-bad milestones kept piling up. I had to know: is it actually possible that this team, which was in first place as late as June 24(!), could lose 100 games?
It’s been a rarity in team history, as the Cubs have lost 100 games just three times in their 100+ years of existence (1962, 1966, and, obviously, 2012). Could this really wind up the fourth year, despite being so competitive for so much of the first half of the season?
So, here’s where things stand: at present, the Cubs have a 52-69 record, which is a .430 winning percentage, and would translate to 70-92 over a full season. But, of course, they’ve been much, much worse lately, going 10-36 in their last 46 games (starting with the FIRST huge, long, losing streak). That’s a .217 winning percentage, which would be a 35-127 record over a full season.
Let’s start there: if the Cubs kept losing at a .217 clip the rest of the way, how many games would they lose?
The Cubs have 41 games left, so .217 times 41 = just 9 more wins. So the Cubs would go 61-101. Done deal.
Then again, can the Cubs *ACTUALLY* lose at a .217 clip the rest of the way? The team is obviously decimated, but the schedule includes a lot of other terrible teams! Would it really be possible to win only 9 or 10 games, max, the rest of the way? Let’s look at the schedule.
By overall remaining strength of schedule, the Cubs face teams that are collectively just a touch under .500 the rest of the way. It’s a mediocre remaining SOS, per Tankathon. No real help there in either direction. So let’s actually look at the schedule, series by series:
⇒ Two more left against the Reds, and sure, I’ll say I could see the Cubs losing both (14-game losing streak, tying the team record! woo!).
⇒ Then three at home against the Royals, who are as bad as the Cubs. If you’re generous, you say the Royals take the series, but the Cubs win one game.
⇒ Then three at home against the Rockies, who do not win on the road. To be generous there, you would say the Cubs won’t sweep them, but it’s highly likely they win two games. So we’re already up to three wins.
⇒ Then the Cubs go play three against the White Sox, and what the hey, we’ll call that one a sweep.
⇒ Then it’s two in Minneapolis against the Twins, where a split seems pretty likely, but again, we’ll be generous and say the Cubs drop them both. Still only three wins added.
⇒ Then the Cubs host the Pirates for four. The Pirates are so very bad, and they, too, are worse since the Trade Deadline. That has split, at worst, written all over it. The Cubs are roughly up to five wins.
⇒ The Cubs then host the Reds and Giants for three and three, and we’ll just call those both sweeps.
⇒ Then it’s a road trip to Philly and Milwaukee for three and three, and we could call those both sweeps, too, but it feels like, between this set and the previous, it’s a bit much to PROJECT another 12-game losing streak. I’m gonna say the Cubs win at least one within these four series, because that’s a reasonable minimum, even for a terrible team. So the Cubs are up to six wins.
⇒ Then it’s the Twins at Wrigley for two, and that’s at least gonna be a split. So there’s win number seven.
⇒ The Cardinals then come in for four at Wrigley, and the boldest you could be would be projecting a 3-1 series win for the Cardinals. Eight wins. Teetering at the brink.
⇒ The Cubs finish the year with three in Pittsburgh and then three in St. Louis. So even if things went as terribly as I’ve written before here, the Cubs would still have to lose at least four of these six games in order to hit 100 losses.
This is all just eyeballing things at a very high level, and it doesn’t really matter. My point was really just to do a check on myself, and question how hard it would actually be for the Cubs to reach 100 losses this year. To my eye, even as bad as the Cubs are right now, it’s looking pretty difficult to get to 100. I think the 95-ish range is looking much more likely. Still quite bad!