The Houston Astros reached the 100-loss mark Tuesday night for the second straight year in a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Astros were swept by St. Louis, and they have a record of 48-102 going into tonight's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The good news is that the Astros have to win just one more game to avoid slipping below the dreaded .300 winning percentage. Here is a list of the five worst National League Central teams, by record, since MLB went to the current divisions in 1995.
5: Pittsburgh Pirates, 2009 (62-99) - This Pirates team may have joined the other 100-loss clubs on this list, but it only played 161 games in 2009. Pittsburgh was equally bad at the plate and on the mound in 2009. The team finished 14th in the National League in both team batting average and team ERA. This is how bad it was in Pittsburgh in 2009: Andy LaRoche led the team with 64 RBIs. At least the Bucs didn't have the worst record in the NL; Washington lost 103 games that year.
4: Pittsburgh Pirates, 2001 (62-100) - The Pirates of 2001 couldn't hit, pitch or field. The team had the worst team batting average of any MLB team, at .247. Pittsburgh's team ERA of 5.05 was 28th among MLB teams. Only Cincinnati committed more errors in the NL. The Lloyd McClendon-led squad did have one star. Aramis Ramirez hit .300 while clubbing 34 home runs and knocking in 112 runs. In those pre-steroid testing days, though, none of those numbers made the top-10 of the league.
3: Pittsburgh Pirates, 2010 (57-105) - If the 2009 Pirates team was the opening act, the 2010 team was the headliner. That squad lost more games than any other major league club. Only Seattle, with 101 losses, joined Pittsburgh in the century club in 2010. Pittsburgh was dead last in the NL with a .242 team average, and their team ERA of 5.00 was worst of all 30 MLB teams.
Tie-1: Milwaukee Brewers, 2002 (56-106) - It takes a long, hard look at the NL leaders of 2002 to find a Milwaukee Brewers player. The Brew Crew of 2002 did not have a player in the league top-10 in batting average, hits, doubles, walks, home runs, runs batted in … well, it's a long list. Alex Sanchez did have seven triples, good for 6th in the league. The team's bad start of 3-12 got manager Davey Lopes fired, but replacement Jerry Royster didn't have much better success.
Tie-1: Houston Astros, 2011 (56-106) - Last year's Houston team wasn't bad at the plate. They sported a team batting average of .258, good for second in the National League. But they committed 116 errors, tied for most in the league, and their pitchers didn't get many hitters out. Houston hurlers allowed a league-high 4.91 runs per game, and their team ERA of 4.51 was also the worst in the NL.
Brad Boeker is a native of St. Louis and a lifelong Cardinals fan.
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