SAN DIEGO — If the
And the other two had the majors' second-best September record.
"I think there is a correlation," said
"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 tuneup. Because even after Sunday's 1-0 victory over the
"Building the habit of winning, that's the key," Schumaker said.
"You've won seven in a row going down the stretch and you go 'wow, we're playing really good.' And you lose the first [playoff] game. Now what happened to that momentum?" he said. "For me the playoffs are about who plays better that day. It's going to be how we're able to go out and play."
The Dodgers went out and played well Sunday, or at least pitched well with right-hander
Part of the reason for the Dodgers' September slide is injuries. Kemp, Ramirez, Gonzalez and
But since clinching the
Schumaker would rather see the team fight to the finish.
"You have to play the game to win just as you were in June, July, August," he said. "I don't think it's any different. You should play like you're out there to beat somebody."
Mattingly, however, is focused more on the process than the results.
"I want us to keep playing well. And we're playing to win games," said Mattingly, whose pitchers gave up only two runs in three games in San Diego, posting consecutive shutouts for the first time in a month. "But really what matters is how we play.
"The playoffs are so much different than the regular season. You play 162, the best team wins the division. You get in a five-game set, it's a whole different thing. You win Game 1 in a five-game set, it's like 'boom, momentum.' The playoffs are a whole different animal."