RE: This September collapse...
The late-season El Fold-o has been a chronic problem for this team since the early-Bobby V days:
1998 -- had a Wild Card spot all but locked up heading into the 3rd week of Sept., but got swept by the Expos & Braves to get knocked out of it.
1999 -- had to scramble for wins vs. Pittsburgh the last 2 days of the year and get a 1-hit gem by Leiter over the Reds in a play-in game to secure their post-season spot
2000 -- survived a 2-7 start to September by going 13-7 the rest of the way, and were incredibly lucky to not have to face Atlanta in the NLCS for the 2nd straight year
2001 -- 9/11, John Franco & Armando Benitez. 'Nuff said...
2002 -- Had an outside shot at the beginning of August, but then were swept in a double-header at home vs. Arizona, highlighted by a crushing Craig Counsell HR in game 1
2003 -- Never had a shot, but went 7-19 in September just for the helluvit
2004 -- Thought they had a shot at the end of July, but then the Trade That Dare Not Speak Its Name happened