History forgets Mets' collapse

September, 29, 2011
9/29/11
7:51
AM ET
Are the 2007 Mets, who squandered a seven-game lead with 17 to play, now off the hook? Mets fans will never forget the flop, but history now will be more kind.

Here's a primer on collapses by the 2011 Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves ...

Top Thing to Know

The Rays capped the greatest September comeback in MLB history by edging the Red Sox for the AL wild card. The Cardinals matched the biggest September comeback in NL history by edging the Braves for the wild card.

THE COLLAPSES

• On Aug. 27, the Red Sox swept a doubleheader from the Athletics. That's the last time they won back-to-back games all season. They led the AL East by two games at that point. The Rays were nine games out. The Red Sox then lost three of four to the Yankees, beginning their collapse. They closed by losing 21 of their last 29 games and went 7-20 in September.

• In their final game, the Red Sox led by a run going into the ninth inning. They were 76-0 when leading after eight innings. They allowed two runs in the ninth inning and lost, 4-3, losing the wild card to the Rays, who rallied from 7-0 down to beat the Yankees. It was the Yankees' biggest blown lead in the eighth inning or later since 1953. It was about as improbable a combination of events as you could imagine.

Orioles win probability, bottom of 9th

Mid 9 (BOS 3-2), 22.9%
Jones K (1 out), 13.5
Reynolds K (2 out), 5.7
Davis 2B, 16.7
Reimold 2B (tied 3-3), 63.9
Andino 1B (BAL 4-3), 100.0

Rays win probability, 8th/9th innings

Mid 8 (NYY 7-0), 0.58%
Bases loaded, 0 out, 3.89
Fuld walk (7-1), 7.41
Rodriguez HBP (7-2), 13.54
Jennings K (1 out), 8.26
Upton SF (2 out, 7-3), 4.43
Longoria HR (7-6), 22.26
End 8 (NYY 7-6), 18.42

Mid 9 (NYY 7-6), 22.89
2 outs, nobody on, 5.62
1-2 count to Johnson, 3.61
Johnson HR (tied 7-7), 56.08

• The Braves were 81-55 through Sept. 1 and seemingly were in command of the NL wild-card race, with an 8 1/2 game lead over the Cardinals. They were leading the Dodgers 5-0 at home on Sept. 2, but blew the game, losing 8-6. That started their collapse. They went 9-18 to end the regular season, blowing a ninth-inning lead to the Phillies in the final game and lost the NL wild card to the Cardinals by a game.

THE HISTORY OF COLLAPSES AND GREAT COMEBACKS

FAMOUS BASEBALL COLLAPSES
Last 10..Last Game
1951 Dodgers...4-6...W, 9-8<<
1964 Phillies...2-8...W, 10-0
1978 Red Sox...9-1...W, 5-0<<
1995 Angels...4-6...W, 8-2<<
2007 Mets...4-6...L, 8-1
2011 Braves...2-8...L, 4-3 (13)
2011 Red Sox...3-7...L, 4-3
>Does not include tiebreaker games

• Ten teams have come back from 10 games out of playoff contention on Aug. 1 or later to make the postseason. Four teams have done it in the divisional era (since 1969) -- the 1969 Mets, 1973 Mets, 1995 Mariners and 2009 Twins. The 2011 Cardinals and 2011 Rays are the ninth and 10th, and fifth/sixth in the Divisional Era.

• The Rays were nine games out of a playoff spot on Sept. 3. The Cardinals were 8 1/2 out after games of Sept. 5. The Rays have the greatest September comeback to make the postseason in MLB history. The 1964 Cardinals and 2011 Cardinals are tied for second. Each team was 8 1/2 games back.

• The Cardinals were 7 1/2 games back with 20 to play and the Rays were 6 1/2 games back with 20 to play. Six teams in MLB history have overcome a deficit of six-plus games with 20 games or fewer left to make postseason -- the 1951 Giants, 1964 Cardinals, 1995 Mariners, 2007 Phillies, 2011 Cardinals and 2011 Rays.

• The Rays were four games out of the wild card with 12 games to play (the Cardinals were 3 1/2 back). Only five teams have come back from four-plus back of a playoff spot with 12 games to play to make the postseason -- the 1951 Giants, 1962 Giants, 1964 Cardinals, 2007 Rockies and 2011 Rays.

• The Cardinals were two games back of the wild card with four to play and the Rays were 1 1/2 games out of the wild card with four to play. Only 10 teams have come back from 1 1/2 or more back with four games or fewer to play: 1949 Dodgers, 1951 Giants, 1962 Giants, 1972 Tigers, 1987 Tigers, 1999 Mets, 2007 Rockies, 2009 Twins, 2011 Cardinals and 2011 Red Sox. Though those teams made the postseason, none of those prior to 2011 won the World Series.

Largest September Deficit Overcome to Make Postseason
2011 Rays...9
2011 Cardinals...8 1/2
1964 Cardinals...8 1/2
2009 Twins...7
1938 Cubs...7
1934 Cardinals...7
>> Rays: 9 games behind Red Sox for wild card through games of Sept 2
>> Cardinals: 8 games behind Braves for wild card through games of Sept 5

Largest Deficit Overcome with 12 Or Fewer Games Remaining
To Make Postseason, MLB History

Games...Games Remaining
1964 Cardinals...6 1/2...12
1951 Giants...6...12
2007 Rockies...4 1/2...11
2011 Rays...4...12
1962 Giants...4...7

Other biggest comebacks in baseball history features:

• The 1951 Giants trailed the Brooklyn Dodgers by 13 games after losing to the Phillies on Aug. 11. They won 16 straight games to get back in the race, and forced a three-game playoff with the Dodgers to close the season. The teams split the first two games and the Giants rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the ninth inning, winning the pennant on Bobby Thomson’s 3-run home run versus Ralph Branca.

• The 1964 Cardinals trailed the Phillies by 6 1/2 games with 12 to play, but rallied to win the NL pennant. The Phillies handed the pennant away by losing 10 straight games, including three straight to the Cardinals in the final week of the season.

• The 1978 Yankees were 14 games out of first place as late as July 19. They went 52-21 in their final 73 games, winning a four-game series that in Boston became known as the Boston Massacre, and a one-game playoff in Boston to win the AL East title.

• The 1995 Mariners were 43-46 through Aug. 2 and trailed the Angels for the AL West by 13 games. They went 36-20 in their final 56 games, winning a one-game playoff from the Angels, 9-1, to win the division title.

• The 2007 Phillies trailed the Mets by seven games with 17 to play. The Phillies swept three games from the Mets and went 13-4 in their final 17 games to claim the NL East title on the final day of the regular season.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Carlos Torres
WINS ERA SO IP
2 2.08 11 8
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Lagares .314
HRL. Duda 3
RBIL. Duda 8
RE. Young Jr. 12
OPSL. Duda .841
ERAJ. Mejia 2.81
SOJ. Mejia 18

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