Commentary

The Insider: MLB's momentum myth

Big Mo is a no-go once baseball's playoffs roll around

Updated: September 24, 2010, 4:47 PM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | Special to ESPN The Magazine
Howard, Marte, RockiesRueter/Landov, Getty ImagesDon't be fooled by September results when forecasting October success.

As baseball's regular season comes to a close, teams eyeing the playoffs scroll down their checklists to prepare for the October grind: set rotation, rest banged-up players, order champagne. If building momentum is on their lists, they should strike it now.

A late-season roll has about as much impact on playoff success as a rally monkey does. It can boost morale, sure, but, more often than not, emotional highs spiral into October sorrows. The Rockies' storybook ride in 2007 -- 14 wins in the final 15 regular-season games, then two series sweeps to roll into the World Series -- was miraculous, but also the exception.