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MLB's worst streaks and how they ended

September 20, 2018

The Cleveland Browns' winless streak came to an end on Sept. 20, 2018, with a 21-17 win over the Jets. The Browns were just 2-32-1 since the start of 2016 before that and had been without a win for 19 consecutive games, including their Week 1 tie against the Pittsburgh

The Cleveland Browns' winless streak came to an end on Sept. 20, 2018, with a 21-17 win over the Jets. The Browns were just 2-32-1 since the start of 2016 before that and had been without a win for 19 consecutive games, including their Week 1 tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers that snapped their losing skid.

Cleveland was just a few games shy of MLB's longest streak of the modern era -- the Phillies' 23-gamer in 1961. Below is a look at how the Browns' recent woes stack up against some of baseball's most infamous streaks and how they came to an end.

Phillies' 23-game losing streak in 1961
The Phillies' historic skid came to an end on Aug. 20, 1961, in the second half of a doubleheader against the Milwaukee Braves. They stretched their streak to 23 games by losing, 5-2, in the opener, but came from behind to win Game 2, 7-4. Right-hander John Buzhardt was the pitcher of record in the streak-busting victory, and also happened to have been the last Phils pitcher to record a win on July 28. The Phillies' 23-game rut hasn't been matched since; the closest any team has come is Baltimore's 0-21 start in 1988.

Orioles' losing skid to begin 1988
The Orioles got off to the worst start in MLB history in 1988, losing each of their first 21 games en route to 54-106 last-place finish. It remains the longest modern era losing streak in American League history. The O's took a 12-0 loss to the Brewers on Opening Day and didn't manage its first win until April 29, defeating the White Sox, 9-0, in Chicago. Baltimore had a 44-129 scoring margin in that span.

Red Sox, Cubs' World Series droughts
The Cubs ended one of sports' longest title droughts in 2016, with a dramatic extra-innings Game 7 victory over the Indians in Cleveland. It had been 108 years since the Cubs last won the World Series, in 1908. In 2004, the Red Sox busted a similar streak, winning their first championship in 86 years. The Astros continued the trend last season by claiming their first title since the franchise's inception in 1962. The Browns' MLB counterpart, the Cleveland Indians, now own the longest active World Series drought at 70 years. Only the NFL's Arizona Cardinals (71 years) have gone longer without a title than the Tribe among major North American professional sports teams.

Don Mattingly's postseason drought
Mattingly didn't play in a postseason game until his 14th and final season in the big leagues in 1995. It was far from the longest playoff drought -- Hall of Famer Ernie Banks played his entire 19-year career without postseason baseball, for instance -- but Mattingly's streak to begin his career notably came while playing for the Yankees, who have made the playoffs more than any other franchise in MLB history. Mattingly's team were trending toward the playoffs in '94, but the season was cut short by the players' strike. He had to wait yet another year, and New York reached the playoffs for the first time since '81 as the AL Wild Card in '95, eventually losing to the Mariners in the AL Division Series.

Red Sox, Twins' 13 straight playoff losses
The Twins have made the playoffs five times since their AL Championship Series appearance against the Angels in 2002, and Minnesota has won just two games in that span, including a record-tying 13 consecutive playoff losses. The Twins lost three straight to the Yankees in the '04 ALDS and endured three straight sweeps in the '06, '09 and '10 ALDS to match the Red Sox's MLB record. Boston took 13 consecutive defeats from 1986-95.

The Yankees are responsible for much of Minnesota's October woes, handing the Twins 10 of those 13 losses. Minnesota's streak is still standing, but Boston snapped its streak with a Game 1 win in the 1998 ALDS against Cleveland. The Red Sox have since won three World Series titles and more than 50 playoff games, so there's hope for long-suffering Twins fans.

Aaron Judge's 37-game strikeout streak
In the midst of his breakout 2017 campaign, Judge went 37 consecutive games with a strikeout from July 8 to Aug. 22, setting a Major League record. The Yankees slugger ended the streak by drawing three walks and hitting an RBI single in a 13-4 win against the Tigers. Judge was pinch-hit for in the seventh inning due to the blowout, but he still had four plate appearances in the contest.

Anthony Young's 27 losing decisions
Young enjoyed a successful six-year Major League career from 1991-96, posting a respectable 3.89 ERA through 181 games with the Mets, Cubs and Astros. But Young is most remembered for a forgettable stretch in which he took an MLB record 27 consecutive losing decisions from 1992-93, breaking an 82-year-old record. Young's run of losses began on May 6, 1992 -- he surrendered five runs in six innings against the Reds in Cincinnati -- and spanned 77 appearances (16 starts) until July 28, 1993, when the Mets mounted a ninth-inning comeback for a 5-4 win over the Marlins.

Eugenio Velez's 0-for-46 slump
Velez's last Major League hit came on May 18, 2010, for the Giants against the Padres. He played 44 more games in the big leagues and went 0-for-46 -- including 0-for-37 in 2011 -- to set the MLB record for most consecutive at-bats without a hit. Unfortunately for Velez, he has yet to return to the Majors, most recently playing for Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League this year, keeping his record hitless streak intact.

Pittsburgh's 20 straight losing seasons
In 2013, the Pirates returned to the playoffs and ended a run of 20 consecutive losing seasons. They went 94-68 in their first winning campaign since 1992, when they lost in the National League Championship Series to the Braves. Pittsburgh secured win No. 81 on Sept. 3, defeating the Brewers in Milwaukee in its 138th game to ensure it would finish with at least a .500 record. From 1993-2012, the Bucs lost 422 more games than they won, losing as many as 105 in 2010, and endured nine last-place finishes. After ending the streak, the Pirates posted three consecutive winning seasons, making the playoffs in each.

Bartolo Colon's first homer
At age 42 and in his 19th season, Colon hit the first home run of his career, taking Padres starter James Shields deep for a two-run blast on May 8, 2016. It was his first hit of the season and the third extra-base hit of his professional career. Colon passed Randy Johnson as the oldest player in MLB history to hit his first career homer. Colon was homerless for his first 246 plate appearances from 1997 through May 2, 2016.

Ben Revere's homerless streak
Revere went the first 1,466 at-bats of his career without leaving the yard, marking the longest such stretch to start a big league career since Frank Taveras went 1,594 at-bats from 1972-77. Revere's first long ball came on May 27, 2014, for the Phillies against the Rockies. He has since homered six more times in the big leagues.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.