SAN DIEGO — If the Dodgers are to go far in October they’re going to have to start winning in September. At least that has been the trend recently with three of the last five World Series winners posting the best record in the last full month of the regular season.
“I think there is a correlation,” said Skip Schumaker, who won two World Series rings with the St. Louis Cardinals. “You have to feel good about where you’re at and not coast into the playoffs.”
Hitting coach Mark McGwire, a player or coach on four World Series teams, agrees.
“You have to have momentum,” he said. “You have to have that feeling. There’s no switch that you just go ‘OK, the light’s on. Playoff time. I’ve got to start tuning it up.’
“It’s tuned up [in] games prior to those.”
In that case, the Dodgers are due for a tune-up. Because even after Sunday’s 1-0 victory over the San Diego Padres, their third victory in four games, the team is 10-11 this month. And in the last 11 years only one team with a losing record in September recovered in time to win a title.
“Building the habit of winning, that’s the key,” Schumaker said.
Manager Don Mattingly isn’t so sure. The only time he reached the postseason as a player, in 1995, the New York Yankees finished the season 22-6 and got bounced in the first round of the playoffs.