We want to assure the friendly people of Kansas City that we don't compare just any old team to those fabled 1962 Mets.
We also want to assure the friendly people of Kansas City that we don't go actively looking every single year for teams to compare to those 1962 Mets.
But sometimes, friends, those comparisons become unavoidable. And nearly two months into this particular season, this one has reached that exalted status. Take a look:
• Record after 46 games: '05 Royals (13-33) '62 Mets (12-34)
• Team ERA: '05 Royals 5.33 '62 Mets 5.04
• Team batting average: '05 Royals .244 '62 Mets .240
• Team on-base percentage: '05 Royals .304 '62 Mets .318
Get the picture?
OK, so it's early. Kind of. But these Royals have put themselves into position to accomplish some real bad stuff stuff no modern team not managed by Casey Stengel has ever done. Let's examine some of those particularly scary feats:
In St. Louis, Mo., Mark Mulder has won seven games in a row. But over at the other end of I-70, the Royals' rotation had won six games combined in its first 46 starts.
Not surprisingly, only one rotation since 1900 ever put together fewer wins this deep into a season Roger Craig, Al Jackson, Jay Hook and the rest of the trusty crew Stengel pointed toward the mound in 1962.
But if we include pre-1900, we find this is practically a Kansas City tradition. Here are all the rotations with six wins or fewer through 46 games, courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau:
And yes, you read that correctly. The Royals are the only rotation in history to do this two years in a row.
Suppose this keeps up
At least we know now that last year's rotation in KC did pick it up, eventually winning 38 times. But if this year's crew keeps up this pace, it's in big trouble.
Here's the lowest percentage of games won by starters over a full season (with the Royals' projected totals):
The 1-2 punch
Back in '62, ol' Casey's Mets had three different starters (Roger Craig, Craig Anderson and Bob Miller) who forgot to win any of their first 10 starts of the season. (Miller actually forgot to win in his first 20 starts, but we won't get into that.)
Well, you don't have to be related to Anthony Young to know that for any team to have three different pitchers one of whom was the opening-day starter pull off something like that is just about impossible. But even two isn't easy.
That makes the Royals just the third rotation in the expansion era to have two starters including its opening day starter with those numbers. Here they are, according to Elias:
Most places, it's an honor and a privilege to be named the opening day starter. In Kansas City, it's more like a curse.
Last year's opening day starter, Brian Anderson, won one of his first 15 starts and two of his first 19.
In 2000, Jeff Suppan was the opening day starter. He won two of his first 18 starts.
In 1987, Danny Jackson pitched opening day. He won two of his first 14 starts and four of his first 24.
Which brings us to Lima. Last October, he became the first Dodger in 16 years to win a postseason game. He hasn't won since.
No opening day starter for any team has gone deeper into a season without a win since Tanyon Sturtze dodged a W in his first 15 starts for the 2002 Devil Rays.
And if Lima is interested in chasing the modern record (or not), Elias reports that the most starts any opening day starter since 1900 needed to finally win a game is 18, by Carl Morton of the 1976 Braves.
On the other hand, the back end of that Royals pitching staff hasn't exactly escaped all blame, either. Current save percentage by the dependable K.C. bullpen: an unreal 35.7 percent (five saves, nine blown saves).
Theoretically, that figures to change. But according to the folks from the Rolaids Relief Awards, three bullpens have made it through a whole season with more blown saves than saves (since Rolaids started calculating blown saves in 1988):
• 2002 Cubs 23 saves, 25 blown saves (47.9 percent)
• 1994 Dodgers 20 saves, 21 blown saves (48.8 percent)
• 1998 Royals 29 saves, 30 blown saves (49.2 percent)
Good things don't come in threes
Oh. And one more thing. Dating back to last July, these Royals had played 122 consecutive games (through Thursday) without having a single three-game winning streak. Not one. That's the third-longest stretch in the last quarter-century:
• 144 1985 Pirates (April 9 Sept. 19)
• 124 1986 Cubs (April 25 Sept. 8)
• 122 2004-05 Royals (July 17 May 26)
And just to bring us back to where we started, Stengel did have it worse. His '62-63 Mets once went 140 games without a three-game winning streak.
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Send your Useless Information to email@example.com.