Getting Hot Bodes Well
“We’ve been getting outplayed by second division teams,” Manuel said last Thursday. “Our guys, especially the guys who were on our team the last couple years, know exactly what we’ve got to do. They know exactly how to get it. We’re playing right to the beat of basically who we’re playing. We’re just playing right with them. That’s how we played Pittsburgh. That’s how we played Houston. That’s how we played these guys.
“We don’t put anybody away.”
And that was after the Phillies won two of three from Washington.
But there is a good reason for the Phillies to start playing better in their final 20 games. Seven of the nine National League champions this decade were playing great baseball entering the postseason:
- 2008: The Phillies finished a MLB-best 13-3 and won the World Series.
- 2007: Colorado finished a Major League-best 14-1.
- 2005: Houston finished an NL-best 13-5.
- 2003: Florida finished a league-best 15-6 and won the World Series.
- 2002: San Francisco finished an MLB-best 10-1.
- 2001: Arizona finished a league-best 8-3 and won the World Series.
- 2000: The Mets finished an MLB-best 9-2 in 2000.
Only the 2004 and ’06 Cardinals have bucked the trend. (Tony La Russa‘s genius?) The ’04 Cardinals lost five of their final seven games and went just 12-12 down the stretch. The ’06 Cardinals finished 3-9 before winning the World Series.