MLB: 7 Craziest September Collapses in Baseball History
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As we head down the home stretch of what's been a less than exciting 2011 MLB season, teams always talk about being within striking distance come September.
The hope is to at least give themselves a chance within the division for some September magic and make that improbable run at a championship.
Unfortunately, some of these teams decided they would only play until mid-September and then lose the chance for immortality, or at least be remembered for losing rather than winning the pennant.
1964 Philadelphia Phillies
The franchise that has the most losses in Major League Baseball history could have had a few of the losses taken away in the early '60s.
The Phillies led by 6.5 games over the Cardinals and Reds with 12 to go in September but then lost 10 in a row and ended up one game back in a tie for second with the Reds despite winning their last two games.
Manager Gene Mauch took a lot of heat for tinkering with the pitching rotation down the stretch (sounds like the Twins from the 2010 season). The Cardinals beat the Yankees in seven games in the World Series.
2007 New York Mets
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After leading by seven games on Sept. 12, and with Pedro Martinez on the mound after missing five months rehabbing a torn rotator cuff, the Mets were the favorite in a weak National League field.
Unfortunately, the Mets went through a series of peaks and valleys over the course of September and then lost six of their final seven to finish the season one game behind the Philadelphia Phillies.
An aging pitching staff and a terrible bullpen caught up with the Mets. Tom Glavine lost on the final day of the season, giving up seven earned runs in one-third of an inning in a 9-1 loss to the Florida Marlins.
1995 California Angels
The Angels won their final five to force a one-game playoff with the Mariners and ace Randy Johnson. The Mariners thumped the Angels 9-1 and set up one of the more memorable playoff series in recent memory against the Yankees.
Seattle stunned New York in the first year of the divisional series and then lost to Cleveland in the American League Championship Series.
1978 Boston Red Sox
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Boston led by 14 games in July and still held a 7.5-game lead with 32 games remaining. Losing 14 of 17 gave the Yankees hope and the opportunity they needed to get back in the race.
The Red Sox won their final eight and needed a Cleveland victory over New York to force a one-game playoff at Fenway Park. Bucky Dent (pictured) then became a magic four-letter word in Boston, as the Yankees shortstop hit a home run in a 3-2 New York victory.
The Yankees went on and won their second consecutive World Series, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers.
2009 Detroit Tigers
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The 2009 Tigers spent the majority of that season in first place in the American League Central and had a home game four days before the season ended against the Twins with a chance to clinch the division.
They lost that one, and the Twins won the next three at home while the Tigers won once to force a one-game playoff before the postseason.
In the last regular season game in the Metrodome, Alexi Casilla drove in Carlos Gomez to win 6-5 in 12 innings in a classic game. The Tigers had a three-game lead with four games to play and couldn't close the deal.
1987 Toronto Blue Jays
With seven games to play, the Blue Jays had a 96-59 record and a 3.5-game lead. On the second-to-last Sunday, the Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning against the Tigers, but Kirk Gibson's home run tied the game, and Detroit won in 13 innings.
The Blue Jays didn't win again. They finished 96-66, and the Tigers caught them with a sweep in the final weekend, winning three one-run games by scores of 4-3, 3-2 and 1-0.
Toronto finished the season two games behind.
1969 Chicago Cubs
If you are a Cubs fan, this is just another “what could have been” moment in the storied franchise.
It was the first season of divisional play, and the Cubs had a 9.5-game lead on August 14 in the new National League East. Thirteen days later the red-hot Mets had pulled within two, and they won the division by eight.
The Cubs lost 14 of their final 20, and New York went on to win the World Series.