Congratulations to Chris Capuano, the latest member of the Charlie Brown All-Stars.
CapuanoWe mean the Mets, although there’s plenty of room for confusion between the two squads.
We’re not talking about the current team and we’re not necessarily reflecting on Capuano’s current status, as he’s shown himself to be reasonably decent at times, and has made a respectable comeback from Tommy John surgery.
What we’re referring to is the Mets' historic penchant of employing losers. In Capuano’s case, that deals with a streak too recent to be forgotten. From 2007 to 2010 (with surgery in-between), the Brewers lost 19 consecutive games in which he was the starting pitcher.
Most Consecutive Team Games Lost
Started by Single Pitcher, All-Time
It’s a streak that actually started against the Mets, who beat the then-5-0 lefty, 9-1 on May 13, 2007. (Damion Easley's first-inning home run was the key hit.) Capuano lost his next three starts, 8-1, 5-1, and 2-1, and the streak was on its way to a historic measure.
The Elias Sports Bureau says the 19 straight starts without a team win matched an all-time worst streak, last accomplished 94 years ago.
Capuano would actually make 26 straight appearances in Brewers defeats, a skid snapped on July 3, 2010, when he closed out a 12-5 win over the Cardinals. Sixteen days later, he’d throw five innings of one-run ball as a starter in a 3-1 win over the Pirates to snap his other schneids -– the 19-game start streak and Capuano’s personal 13-game losing streak.
We mentioned that the Mets have a history of associations of this nature, dating back to their origin –- remember that this is a team that lost 120 games in 1962.
Capuano Streak Summary
They’ve never had a pitcher appear in 26 straight games that the team lost (the club record, from a check of Baseball-Reference.com is Larry Miller’s 23 from 1965 to 1966), but they’ve had four instances of a pitcher losing more than 13 straight decisions.
Craig Anderson dropped 19 straight decisions in a streak that started in 1962 and didn’t end until 1964. In 1963, original Met Roger Craig suffered 18 straight losses, 17 of them coming in starts.
Reliever Skip Lockwood would challenge those two marks, with 14 straight losses from 1978 to 1979, but that streak would pale comparatively to the granddaddy of Mets losing streaks, set by Anthony Young from 1992 to 1993.
Young can scoff at Capuano’s troubles. He lost a major league record 27 straight games, 14 as a starter, 13 as a reliever. Young lost when he pitched badly (losses No. 1 through 3, he allowed 14 runs in 17 2/3 innings) and lost when he pitched well (loss No. 26, he had a one-hit shutout with two outs in the eighth inning against the Padres, but got beat, 2-0).
The good news is that there’s little chance that Capuano will ever befall the same fate as any of those predecessors. For one, as we mentioned, he seemed to regain his form toward the end of last season.
For another, if he’s in position to have another losing streak of that nature, he probably won’t last very long in a Mets uniform.
For now, let’s just hope he’s no Jerry Cram.
Who’s that, you ask?
Cram has a losing distinction of another nature, uncovered thanks to BaseballMusings.com's Day-By-Day-Database. He pitched in 14 games (all in relief) for the Mets from 1974 to 1975. His numbers were respectable -– a 2.30 ERA and 29 hits allowed in 27 1/3 innings. There was just one problem.
In those 14 appearances, whether they be in close games or blowouts, the Mets never won.