Going back to the 2007 season, the Philadelphia Phillies have always been able to really get it together and turn it on as a team in the month of September.
Yes, the Mets choked both in ’07 and ’08, but if not for late surges in September by the Phillies, they could have made the post season in both those years instead of falling short by just one game.
I decided to examine the Mets September record for the last 4 seasons and compare it to the Phillies and Braves. I then decided to throw in the Marlins who have taken great pleasure in playing spoilers the last few years.
Here are the results which are very telling:
When you look at the Mets and the Phillies head-to-head in the last four, it becomes very clear how different these two teams are. The Mets may have always been able to get off to a better start than the Phillies as an examination of their April records indicate. But as Davey Johnson always said, it’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters most in this crazy game.
07 – September 17 - 11
08 – September 17 - 8
09 – September 17 - 13
10 – September 19 - 3
07 – September 14 - 14
08 – September 13 – 12
09 – September 8 – 20
10 – September 9 – 12
We can talk all we want about trading Beltran (who by the way is our best hitter in September) and signing Carl Crawford or Cliff Lee. but the fact of the matter is that this team’s problems go beyond adding another bat or arm.
As a team, they always shrivel up in big spots, and they can’t draw any adrenaline even in the heat of a pennant race. They lack concentration, motivation and execution when it matters the most, unlike the Phillies who are oozing with those qualities. Until that changes, not even adding Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson could get this team out of the their current quagmire… Or make them relevant in the NL East.