Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that there's no reason to be concerned. The Mets have been outscored 24-4 in their last three games. The lineup, consisting of pretty much the "A" squad minus Shawn Green, did nothing tonight. Far be it from me to play Jimmy "Half-Full" (you know how I hate that). But let me remind you guys and girls of a few things:
- The zero runs scored by the Mets tonight were off of one John Smoltz. John Smoltz is many things...a stinkin' Brave is high on that list. But one thing John Smoltz is not is chopped liver.
- The twelve runs scored tonight by the Braves were off pitchers who will be nowhere near Shea come October.
We all know about what the Yankees did in 2000, going 3-15 down the stretch after having a nine game lead over the Red Sox, yet still going on to win a forgettable World Series. But the Yanks didn't actually clinch until close to the last weekend of the season. So when it comes to teams and their post clinch records, the crack staff (along with the fine folks at Baseball Race and Retrosheet) has dug up a few examples:
- The 1980 KC Royals went 2-8 immediately after clinching their division, then went 5-1 to finish off the season and then go on to play in the World Series (but lose to Philadelphia.
- The 1996 Cleveland Indians went the opposite way, going 8-1 immediately after clinching their division for a total post-clinch record of 9-3. The Indians were bounced by the Orioles in the first round.
- The 2001 Mariners went 0-4 immediately following their clinch, but then went on a 10-2 tear to finish the regular season. The Mariners were eliminated in the ALCS.
- Meanwhile, the 1975 Reds went 3-6 immediately after clinching the N.L. West. They then went on a 10-1 run to end the season and then win the World Series.
- The 1998 Yankees went 2-5 after a very early clinch of the A.L. East, and then went 10-2 to end the season.
- The 1983 White Sox had no post-clinch hangover...going 7-1 after clinching en route to an 11-3 post-clinch record. Yet, they were bounced in the ALCS by Baltimore.
So 2-6 since the clinch doesn't worry me. If the Mets go to the World Series, then everyone will forget their problems after clinching. By the same token, if the Mets are bounced in the first round, it will have had nothing to do with their 2-6 record, and everything to do with Pedro Martinez not being Pedro Martinez.
You say you want more perspective?
The Cardinals are 1-7 in their last eight games.
Let them do the worrying.