The 2 worst hitting teams in MLB history, as expected, struggled in first game of series

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By , Audacy Sports

A 4-2 ballgame, on the surface, doesn't really seem like one with a huge lack of offense. In fact, that's a fairly typical score regardless of the era in which it occurred, and it would be a surprise to hear someone say that said game reinforced the fact that baseball is at an all-time low in terms of offensive production.

But alas, here we are in 2021, and yesterday's 4-2 game between the Indians and the Mariners reinforced that exact fact. It's considerably less surprising that this was the case when you come to learn that Seattle and Cleveland rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on the list of the lowest team batting averages in MLB history. The Mariners are batting .201 and the Indians are batting .207, though it's still early, and those are figures which place them below the longtime "leader" in this inglorious stat: the 1910 Chicago White Sox and their .210 team batting average. Don't you recognize many of the feared sluggers that filled out their roster?

Team Batting
Rk Pos Name AB H HR RBI BA OBP SLG
1CFred Payne25256019.222.260.274
21BChick Gandil27553221.193.267.262
32BRollie Zeider498108031.217.305.243
4SSLena Blackburne24242010.174.245.194
53BBilly Purtell36882136.223.272.261
6OFPaul Meloan*22254023.243.314.324
7OFPatsy Dougherty*443110143.248.318.300
8OFFreddy Parent25846116.178.266.221
Team Totals502410587351.211.275.261
Rank in 8 AL teams788888
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/14/2021.

Patsy Dougherty and his stellar, clubhouse-leading .248 average would be stunned to hear that someone was challenging his White Sox after all these years. But that's exactly the case with both Cleveland and Seattle, and the first game of their series, as expected, produced a pretty weak performance from the plate. The Indians drove in four runs in six hits, batting .182 as a team. But when your opponent bats .071 and gets no-hit into the eighth inning, that's more than enough run production.

These two AL clubs shouldn't feel so bad about their poor hitting, though; it's all over the league at this point. The Brewers rank fifth on that same list with their .213 average, while the Rays (.219), Tigers (.220), Yankees (.220) and Athletics (.220) all rank inside the top 15. Five other teams are batting under .230. All but five teams are batting under .250. The league, as a whole, is hitting .234, which is on pace to be the lowest of all time, even lower than in the pitchers' season of 1968 (.237).

And you wonder why no-hitters seem to be happening, or close to happening, every game? We'll see if the offense picks up in the other games of this Mariners-Indians series, but it would be a shock if it didn't. As Reddit user KevKev16 says, every game in the series is statistically the most likely to produce a no-hitter in league history, and knowing that Shane Bieber is on the hill for the final contest doesn't exactly point to a 10-run burst from Seattle.

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