The Insider: MLB's momentum myth

Don't be fooled by September results when forecasting October success. Rueter/Landov, Getty Images

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.