This playoff skid worst in US sports history

September 30th, 2020

The Twins are out of the postseason, and their fans will have to stomach “The Streak” for another long winter.

Minnesota has lost 18 consecutive postseason games following their 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Astros on Wednesday in Game 2 of the American League Wild Card Series at Target Field. That extends Minnesota’s record playoff losing streak for any team in any of the four major North American professional sports, an unfortunate benchmark that the franchise first set Tuesday with their 17th straight loss in Game 1. The Twins began the postseason tied with the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks, who dropped 16 in a row from 1975-79. As for Major League Baseball, the second-longest postseason losing streak belongs to the Red Sox, who dropped 13 straight from 1986-95.

The Twins’ last postseason victory came back on Oct. 5, 2004, when they shut out the Yankees, 2-0, in Game 1 of the AL Division Series. Twins icon Johan Santana, who last pitched for the franchise in ’07, tossed seven scoreless frames in that contest. The Red Sox, who memorably won their first World Series title in 86 years in ’04, have gone on to claim three more World Series championships since then. Assuming that a team has roughly a 50 percent chance of winning each game, the odds that the Twins would lose 18 straight postseason games are roughly 1 in 262,144.

Minnesota, meanwhile, has gone 0-18 in postseason games since that 2004 series opener, outscored by 59 runs (107-48) in that stretch -- including 44-14 in the seventh inning or later. All but two big league teams have won a playoff game during that stretch, with the Mariners and Marlins (who were playing the Cubs in Game 1 of their National League Wild Card Series on Wednesday when the Astros recorded the final out) being the lone exceptions.

Making matters even worse, the Twins and their mighty “Bomba Squad” offense have gone quiet in each of their last two postseason trips. Wednesday’s loss marked the Twins’ 15th consecutive postseason game in which they were held to four runs or fewer. The only team with a longer streak in postseason history is the Dodgers, who went 18 straight games without scoring five or more runs from 1916-47 when the franchise was based in Brooklyn.