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Tank Race Tuesday: Tigers tanking for Tork, but not quite for history

The Marlins now stand alone with the third-worst record in the game.

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The Marlins still yearn for more cheap, controllable, high-upside talent to elevate their farm system to an elite level and lay the foundation for sustainable success. Stinking against major league competition this season is a critical step in that process. We don’t need to call it “tanking,” but let’s just say—behind closed doors—Miami’s front office will tolerate plenty of 2019 losses if it means selecting near the top of the 2020 MLB Draft and maximizing their 2020-21 international bonus pool. Fish Stripes will be monitoring this “race” for you (and creating new merch inspired by it).

FanGraphs ran performance projections for every team prior to Opening Day, but also continues to provide rest-of-season projections as the real games get played. See below for details regarding the five worst teams, including the Marlins, Orioles, Royals, Tigers, and Blue Jays entering Tuesday.

Tigers

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 40-95, minus-272

2019 projected record and run differential: 52-110, minus-284

Upcoming schedule: 9/3-9/5 at Royals, 9/6-9/8 at Athletics, 9/10-9/12 vs. Yankees, 9/13-9/16 vs Orioles

Detroit dropped six of their seven contests since last publication, and it cost them two more games of their season-end projection. In case you were wondering, this year’s Tigers are not close to even a recent mark for the worst record in baseball. This same franchise holds that distinction, however, with a 43-119 campaign in 2003, the worst record seen in baseball over a 162-game schedule since the 1962 expansion New York Mets went 40-120.

Orioles

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 45-92, minus-245

2019 projected record and run differential: 55-107, minus-271

Upcoming schedule: 9/3-9/4 at Rays, 9/5-9/8 vs. Rangers, 9/10-9/12 vs. Dodgers, 9/13-9/16 at Tigers

The Orioles won just two of their four games over the last week, yet their projected record remained constant. Somehow, they managed to pick up small gains in their run differentials, thanks mostly to a 14-2 drubbing of the fourth team on this list on Aug. 30.

Marlins

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 48-88, minus-177

2019 projected record and run differential: 58-104, minus-207

Upcoming schedule: 9/3-9/5 at Pirates, 9/6-9/8 vs. Royals, 9/9-9/12 vs. Brewers, 9/13-9/15 at Giants

The Fish went 1-5 and are now in sole possession of the third-worst record in the league. They lost a game off their year-end record.

Royals

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 49-89, minus-150

2019 projected record and run differential: 59-103, minus-168

Upcoming schedule: 9/3-9/5 vs. Tigers, 9/6-9/8 at Marlins, 9/10-9/12 at White Sox, 9/13-9/15 vs. Astros

The Royals went .500 for the week to drop to fourth in the Tank Race.

Blue Jays

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 55-84, minus-80

2019 projected record and run differential: 65-97, minus-91

Upcoming schedule: 9/3 at Braves, 9/5-9/8 vs. Rays, 9/10-9/12 vs. Red Sox, 9/13-9/15 vs. Yankees

The Jays went 2-4 last week costing them a win off their projection. The Mariners are currently three games back in sixth.