Twins Wild Card Loss to Astros Becomes an All-Time-Low Benchmark in Sports

The Minnesota Twins got swept during an unusual wild card round for 2020's version of Major League Baseball. The 3-1 win by the Houston Astros on Wednesday is only the beginning of the story, and one that the Twins probably hope will end sometime soon.

The Astros needed only two games in a best-of-3 series at Minnesota to advance to the American League Division Series. The win by the Astros, however, gave the Twins their 18th-consecutive loss in the playoffs—which dates back to 2004.

The Twins not only have more consecutive postseason losses than any other MLB team in history, they have more consecutive playoff losses than any other team in major American sports leagues history.

Second on the all-time list is the Chicago Blackhawks, who lost 16 playoff games from 1975-79. The previous MLB record was 13 by the Boston Red Sox, which began with their Game 6 loss to the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series.

Minnesota Twins
Manager Rocco Baldelli #5 of the Minnesota Twins speaks to starting pitcher Jose Berrios #17 in the dugout during the fifth inning of Game 2 in the American League Wild Card Round at Target Field on September 30, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Astros defeated the Twins 3-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Rocco Baldelli, who just finished his second year managing the Twins, said it's not a record he was totally aware of, but something the team needs to fix

"We haven't been successful in the playoffs lately, at all. That's a reality for all the fans and for everyone who follows the organization and cares about the Twins," Baldelli said, according to ESPN. "I'm aware of it now. The day I showed up here ... I had no idea that was even a thing. I didn't know it existed. I hear about it from people who care about this team. And you know what? We want to do better. We want to do better for ourselves, we want to do better for the organization and we want to do better for the fans, too."

The record dates back to the 2004 postseason, when the Twins beat the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the 2004 American League Division Series (ALDS). The Yankees went on to win the next three games, which kickstarted the postseason futility for Minnesota. The Yankees have won 13 of those 18 games, Oakland has won two games and the Astros have now won two.

Here are the games and series that led to 18-consecutive losses:

2004 ALDS — Lost three-straight games to New York Yankees
2006 ALDS — Swept in three games by Oakland A's
2009 ALDS — Swept in three games by New York Yankees
2010 ALDS — Swept in three games by New York Yankees
2017 Wild Card — Lost one game to New York Yankees
2019 ALDS — Swept in three games by New York Yankees
2020 Wild Card Series — Swept in two games by Houston Astros

The 2020 season has been like no other, with COVID-19 canceling the final two weeks of spring training and postponing the season until July, with a 60-game season for all teams—with no fans.

Major League Baseball then allowed an unprecedented 16 teams into the wild card round of the playoffs. The Twins hosted its series in Minneapolis, which made it probable for the team to break their postseason losing streak.

But, that never happened.

"We weren't expecting this, you know? I don't think anyone was really expecting it to end this way. I mean, like life, baseball is also tough, it's unpredictable," said Twins player Nelson Cruz.

During their 18-game losing streak in the playoffs, the Twins have actually led in 11 of those. However, runs scored late in those games have cost them dearly. In those games, opponents have scored 44 runs in the seventh inning or later, compared to just 14 by the Twins.

In all, the Twins have been outscored, 107-48, in their 18-game streak.