Dodgers Rivaling 2007 Mets

Can the Dodgers actually supplant the Mets for the worst collapse in baseball history?  It’s doubtful but with every mounting loss by LA, the possibility looks more possible.

Ten years ago, the Mets suffered what many feel was the worst collapse in baseball history.  On the close of play on September 12, 2007, the Mets had just defeated the Atlanta Braves by a score of 4-3.  They held a 7 game lead over Philadelphia with just 17 games left to play.  With a record of 83-62 it was a foregone conclusion that the Mets would win their second Eastern Division title in back to back seasons for the first time in franchise history.

We all know what happened.  In fact it’s too painful to even think about.  The Mets pitching collapsed and the club went an unbearable 5-12 the rest of the way.  Meanwhile the Philadelphia Phillies went 12-4 down the stretch.  The Mets were defeated by the last place Florida Marlins on the last day of the season, fan appreciation day at Shea Stadium.  The loss with the Phillies’ last day win ended the Mets’ season.

The 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers will still likely win the National League West but the discussion of a collapse cannot be discounted.

On August 25 of this season, the Dodgers’ record was 91-36, 55 games over .500.  They led the second place Arizona Diamondbacks by 21 games.  LA looked as if they would set the all-time season win total in baseball history, surpassing the Seattle Mariners’ 116 wins of 2001. However, since that date the Dodgers have gone 1-16 having lost their last 11 in a row.  More importantly their lead has shrunk from 21 games to 9, a 12 game swing!  Now with a 9 game lead with 18 to play, one would think the Dodgers will still lock up the division.  But isn’t that what we thought about our Mets back in 2007?

Last evening, the Dodgers were defeated again by the last place San Francisco Giants.  All of a sudden the Dodgers can’t pitch or hit.  What is going on?

Curtis Granderson must have thought he died and went to heaven when he was traded from the disappointing Mets to the stellar Dodgers.  Grandy made his first appearance in Dodger blue on August 19 in Detroit.  Curtis went 0-4 but scored a run in another Dodger win.  Since Granderson went to the Dodgers, their record has been 6-18.  When you combine that with the Mets record at the time of the trade, Granderson has suffered through a 59-85 season, worse than the current Mets record of 63-80.  Of course no one is blaming the Dodger’s woes on Granderson.  There are many culprits including the Dodgers pitching staff.  Even Clayton Kershaw couldn’t stop the slide when he was battered around by the Dbacks upon his second start after returning from the DL.  The only win the Dodgers have enjoyed during this stretch however was Kershaw’s first game back.

It’s clear if the Dodgers blow this thing, they will surpass the 2007 Mets and the 1964 Phillies as the all-time team of chokers.  But the likelihood is still a longshot considering the Dodgers large lead with little games left to play.  Also, even if the Dodgers lose the division, they likely would be one of the two wildcards.  LA’s lead over the Cardinals, the team trailing the second wildcard, is 16.5 games.  With 18 to play the Dodgers simply have to win 3 games to get into the playoffs.  That would be 95 wins for LA and enough to secure at least one of two wildcards.  The 2007 Mets did not have the luxury of a second wild card as they were shutout from the playoffs altogether.

As for the Dodgers however, after flirting with the most wins in regular season play, anything less than a division title would be devastating.  Let’s not forget the Dodgers’ payroll of 242 million dollars is the largest in the Major Leagues.  While the Dodgers have spent the most money in recent years, it has not been enough to get them the World Series trophy for the first time since 1988. If the Dodgers do not win it all this October, there will likely be a lot of heads rolling at Chavez Ravine.

On August 19, everyone assumed this was the Dodgers’ year.  But after this slide and considering the Dodgers have not even gotten to the World Series after winning the NL West title for four consecutive years now, LA’s dream season may just be the biggest nightmare in franchise history.  And we thought that something like this could only happen to the Mets.

Update 9/13:   The one thing I forgot to account for was the interaction between St. Louis and Milwaukee. The results of games played between these two clubs would effect the Dodgers securing a playoff spot.  With last night’s win by the Dodgers over the Giants, LA clinched a playoff spot no worse than the second wildcard.  That’s because the Cardinals and Brewers have three games together at the end of the season.  Regardless of who wins or loses that series, one team will be eliminated from being able to overtake the Dodgers for a playoff spot.  So the Dodgers will not replace the Mets as the all-time last minute chokers.  However, the Dodgers could still blow the division although they have regained a 10 game lead after Arizona lost to the Rockies last evening.  With a 10 game lead and only 17 to play, it will be a Herculean effort for the Dodgers to blow this thing.

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