What teams can make the MLB playoffs in 60 games? Here are five worst they would have rated in the past few seasons.

Among the 161 positive integers that are less than number 162 is number 60. This is relevant for the purposes of This, Our Baseball because the regular MLB regular season spans 162 games. However, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and the fast pace of team owners during recent negotiations with players have conspired to give us a regular season of 60 games. Such a dramatically smaller sample size than regular season games means that rarity and chaos in the rankings are much more likely. For this, we are grateful.

To give you an idea of ​​how this could be, we reviewed all the seasons since 2012, i.e., the era of second place wildcard in each league, and identified the five worst teams that would have been in the playoff position at the 60-game mark during one of those seasons. “The worst” is defined by the final record in the entire 162 games. While it is perhaps too much to say that any The team can have a good streak in 60 games, it’s definitely not too much to say that even reasonably bad teams can find themselves in the playoff position after 60 games. We have proof of that and of everything.

So what follows are the five teams from 2012 to 2019 that were in the postseason mix after 60 games, but ended up south of the border after the full season was completed. They are ranked in ascending order of registration because sometimes you just have to do the right thing. Come with us, right?

1. 2017 Orioles, 75-87

In addition to finishing the season 12 games below .500, the 2017 Orioles were also outscored by the opposition by 98 runs in the year. However, at the 60-game mark, the O’s were 31-29, and that was enough to tie them with the Indians for second place in the AL wild card. That, in turn, would have meant a tiebreaker to determine who advanced to the AL Wild Card Game. The following year, the Os lost 115 games, which meant the end for manager Buck Showalter and GM Dan Duquette and began a rebuild that is still ongoing.

2. 2014 Marlins, 77-85

The Marlins’ 85 losses in 2014 were a respectable 32-28 at the 60-game mark, and that would have meant a tie with the Braves (see below) for the National League East Division title. The tiebreaker loser would have taken first place wildcard. Giancarlo Stanton finished second in the National League MVP vote that year, and fellow young outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna also had productive spins. The loss of young ace Jose Fernandez to Tommy John surgery after just eight starts, in essence, drowned his hopes of contention throughout the season. The Marlins slipped below .500 definitely in late June and so far have written 10 consecutive losing seasons.

3. Rangers 2019, 78-84

Last year’s Rangers under rookie manager Chris Woodward reached 10 games above .500 in late June, and after 60 games (32-28) they ranked second in the AL wild card. However, the wheels came out quickly with a July 8-16. The unlikely hit of one or two rotations by Mike Minor and Lance Lynn helped Texas achieve respectability. Their new stadium looks like God’s corrugated lawn mower shed.

4. Pirates 2016, 78-83

After 60 inclines, the 2016 Pirates were 32-28, which would have put them in a triple tie with the Dodgers and Cardinals for second place in the NL wild card. That means they had a chance to make four consecutive postseason appearances for the first time in franchise history. Unfortunately, that 32-28 record marked the point where the Pirates had two losses in a stretch that saw them fall 13 of 15. That stretch effectively removed any hope of that fourth consecutive playoff spot. Of the regular contributors to that Pirates team, only two, Jameson Taillon and Gregory Polanco, remain with the club. Unfortunately for the Buccos faithful, Bob Nutting also remains with the club.

5. Braves 2014, 79-83

As noted above, the Braves were tied for the Eastern NL lead with the aforementioned Marlins at the 60-game checkpoint. The 96-win Nationals would continue to claim the division, and the Braves after their 32-28 start, 17-8 in April, would record the first of four consecutive losing seasons. That happened despite the presence of young local core Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, Julio Tehran, Alex Wood, and Craig Kimbrel.

As of 2012, only two other teams eventually .500 or sub-.500 were in the playoff position at the 60-game mark: the 2019 Phillies, who finished 81-81, and the 2015 Rays, who finished 80-82) If the Phils sneaked into the postseason last year, does Gabe Kapler keep his job? Very possibly. Still, in eight seasons in the 10-team playoff format, there are seven eventual losing teams that would have been in line to make it (or play a tiebreaker) after 60 games. If you’re a fan of an apparent non-contender entering the 2020 season, that’s reason for slight optimism.

The 10-team playoff field is modest enough that we probably won’t end up with a losing team in the postseason, but the sample size is such that we could end up with a team whose smelly incompetence evades detection in 60 games. Use this reality to feel better about your favorite team, and also get ready to use this principle to challenge a team you don’t like in case they reach the postseason in 2020. Keep the champagne cold and the powder dry.