have two strikes against (one)

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have two strikes against (one)

To be one mistake, error, or wrongdoing away from total failure. The phrase comes from baseball, in which a batter is "out" after three strikes and can no longer attempt to hit the ball in that plate appearance. Man, I already have two strikes against me in that class, I can't turn in my project late too! You have two strikes against you from putting a dent in my car and getting a speeding ticket—if anything happens this week, your driving privileges will be taken away.
See also: have, strike, two
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

two strikes against someone/something, to have

The odds are already against someone or something. This term comes from baseball, where the batter is allowed three strikes (swings at the ball) before being called out (losing the turn at bat). Thus a batter with two strikes called has only one more chance to swing and connect. The term was transferred to other undertakings by the early twentieth century. Thus, “All movements for social good will . . . have two strikes on them before they start” (New Republic, 1938).
See also: have, someone, strike, to, two
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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