For first time in 66 years, no team starts 3-0

July 27th, 2020

Many assumed the standings would be very bunched up in the brevity of a 60-game season in 2020, but the opening weekend revealed more parity than baseball has seen in over half a century.

The Padres’ 4-3 loss to the D-backs on Sunday means each of the 30 MLB teams have tallied at least one loss through the first four days of the season. According to ESPN’s Stats and Information department, 2020 is the first season since 1954 that did not see a single team start 3-0.

In only one of the other four major sports leagues in the United States do you have to go back further than 1954 to find the same occurrence to start the season. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the NFL saw zero teams begin the season 3-0 was in '51, with just 12 teams in the league. For the NBA, it was '58 and the league had eight teams. And for the NHL, the most recent season in which no hockey team began the year 3-0 was 2000, when the league had 28 teams.

Not one team in any of MLB's six divisions is more than one game back of first place. The odds of no club starting 3-0 or 0-3 after the first 15 three-game series of a season come out to just 1.3 percent. Jumping out to an undefeated start would have presented a real leg up; since each win or loss in a 60-game season is the equivalent of 2.7 results in a typical 162-game slate, a 3-0 beginning to 2020 would have been roughly the same as starting 8-0 in any other year. Alas, no team took advantage.

A dead-even 60-game sprint now essentially looks like a 57-game sprint with everyone on nearly even ground. Buckle up for a wild ride this summer.