Monday, September 15, 2008

Another September swoon? This one could have been seen coming

The whole world knows what happened to the Mets in September last season. 7 game lead with 17 games to play only to finish the season 1 game out of the playoffs. So with 17 games left to play the spotlight is once again on the Mets, and they have not started out well, losing 2 out of the first games. They started with a 3 and half game lead and its now down to 1. Mets fans are again shocked and scared, but the real question is, should they be? These September struggles should have been seen coming. Over the last few years the Mets have been one of the worst September teams in baseball. Obviously we know they won 9 of their first 12 games in September last year only to go 5-12 down the stretch. But what many people forget is what happened the years before.

Yes the 2006 Mets won their division went to the playoffs and came 1 game away from the World Series. But what is forgotten is September was this team’s worst month of the Season. The team entered September with around a 15 game lead in the division; they then proceeded to go 14-15 for the rest of the month. Now they did win their division with 12 games to play so many of their late month losses came with reserves on the field including a game with Julio Franco at third base. But before they won the division, when they were 1 game away from winning the division the team lost 3 strait to the last place Pirates and they had lost 2 of 3 to the dodgers who they would later beat in the playoffs. 2005 was manager Willie Randolph’s first year. The season was not much about playoff talk but more about how many games over .500 the team went and how many games under .500 they were. That changed however in August, when the Mets led by their new call up of AA first basemen Mike Jacobs won 10 of their last 15 games in August to put them a game out of the Wild Card. But them September came and the Mets responded by losing 12 of their first 14 games in September, killing any chance they had of making the playoffs. Their 2004 season (though they were already far out of the playoffs and playing with mostly September call ups, or in other words a minor league team), saw the team go 10-20 through month of September and two games in October.

The Mets have a history of doing awful in September, something that is getting overlooked by virtually everyone in wake of last season. But if you were to look back, last season should have been expected, as well as not winning games this September. All there is to do is hope the Mets could reverse this trend and win enough games to hold off the Phillies and sneak into October.

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