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Ranking the past 10 Septembers in MLB

August 30, 2018

On Saturday, it will at last be September. October brings with it all its drama and palpitations, but September is when everything clarifies, when the stage is set. Labor Day weekend feels close to the end of the season -- particularly when, like this year, there are no regular-season games

On Saturday, it will at last be September. October brings with it all its drama and palpitations, but September is when everything clarifies, when the stage is set. Labor Day weekend feels close to the end of the season -- particularly when, like this year, there are no regular-season games scheduled for October. September is the month where everything can change. Everything you think you know right now may well be different by the end of September.
Today, we look at how much of an effect September can have. How did they alter the postseason race? How thrilling were they? Here's a glance back at the past 10 Septembers and rank just how dramatic a change they made.
10. 2017
American League postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Astros, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Twins
National League postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Dodgers, Nationals, Cubs, D-backs, Rockies
AL final postseason seeding: Indians, Astros, Red Sox, Yankees, Twins
NL final postseason seeding: Dodgers, Nationals, Cubs, D-backs, Rockies
Yeah, last year was a bummer: All September changed was the Nos. 1 and 2 seeding in the AL, and Cleveland ended up losing in the AL Division Series anyway. Last year's mostly locked-in postesason standings for the final couple of months of the season made many fear that this was just what baseball was going to be from now on. 2018 has already proven how wrong that fear was.

9. 2014
AL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Angels, Orioles, Royals, A's, Tigers
NL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Nationals, Dodgers, Cardinals, Giants, Brewers
AL final postseason seeding: Angels, Orioles, Tigers, Royals, A's
NL final postseason seeding: Nationals, Dodgers, Cardinals, Pirates, Giants
Not much movement here either, with only Detroit ultimately breaking a Sept. 1 tie with Kansas City to win the division. The chaos that the postseason would be this year would more than make up for the sleepy September.

8. 2009
AL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Yankees, Angels, Tigers, Red Sox
NL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Dodgers, Phillies, Cardinals, Rockies
AL final postseason seeding: Yankees, Angels, Twins, Red Sox
NL final postseason seeding: Dodgers, Phillies, Cardinals, Rockies
One of our quieter years, with -- as was often the case at this time -- the major action happening in the AL Central.

7. 2015
AL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Royals, Blue Jays, Astros, Yankees, Rangers
NL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Cardinals, Dodgers, Mets, Pirates, Cubs
AL final postseason seeding: Royals, Blue Jays, Rangers, Yankees, Astros
NL final postseason seeding: Cardinals, Dodgers, Mets, Pirates, Cubs
The NL standings didn't change at all, but they were close: Both the Bucs and the Cubs nearly caught up with the Cards in the final week despite being six and 10 1/2 games out on Sept. 1, respectively. The big loser here was Houston, which fell out of first place in the month.

6. 2016
AL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Rangers, Indians, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Tigers
NL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Cubs, Nationals, Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals
AL final postseason seeding: Rangers, Indians, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles
NL final postseason seeding: Cubs, Nationals, Dodgers, Mets, Giants
This was the year of the Cubs, of course, though it is sort of forgotten now that the Rangers were the best team in the AL that year. (Getting swept in the ALDS will do that.) The big movers this September were the Mets in the NL and the Orioles in the AL … not that it did either of them any good in the Wild Card Games.

5. 2012
AL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Rangers, Yankees, White Sox, A's, Orioles
NL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Nationals, Reds, Giants, Braves, Cardinals
AL final postseason seeding: Yankees, A's, Tigers, Rangers, Orioles
NL final postseason seeding: Nationals, Reds, Giants, Braves, Cardinals
This was the first year of the Wild Card Game, and teams were particularly eager to stay out of it, if at all possible. The White Sox were the big losers this year, and it's worth remembering that they have the fourth-longest postseason drought in baseball, behind only Seattle, Miami and San Diego. Texas fell back to the AL Wild Card Game as well -- a brutal finish, particularly when you remember the Rangers had lost the two previous World Series.

4. 2010
AL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Yankees, Twins, Rangers, Rays
NL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Reds, Braves, Padres, Phillies
AL final postseason seeding: Rays, Twins, Rangers, Yankees
NL final postseason seeding: Phillies, Giants, Reds, Braves
You forgot that San Diego was in first place so late in 2010, didn't you? The Padres went 14-16 in September, while the Giants went 18-12 to pass them and win the NL West -- and as you might remember, win the World Series.

3. 2013
AL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers, A's, Rays
NL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Braves, Dodgers, Pirates, Cardinals, Reds
AL final postseason seeding: Red Sox, A's, Tigers, Indians, Rays
NL final postseason seeding: Cardinals, Braves, Dodgers, Pirates, Reds
The Cardinals and the A's were the big movers here, both improving from a Wild Card spot on Sept. 1 to earn home-field advantage in the Division Series. The Indians also went 20-6 to charge into the AL Wild Card Game, where they celebrated by … getting shut out at home.

2. 2008
AL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Rays, Angels, Twins, Red Sox
NL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Cubs, Mets, D-backs, Brewers
AL final postseason seeding: Angels, Rays, White Sox, Red Sox
NL final postseason seeding: Cubs, Phillies, Dodgers, Brewers
You may remember this season as the second, and even more brutal, of the Mets' late-season collapses; a 12-12 September allowed the Phillies to pass them and lead to the saddest goodbye to mostly unloved stadium imaginable.

1. 2011
AL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Red Sox, Rangers, Tigers, Yankees
NL postseason seeding on Sept. 1: Phillies, Brewers, D-backs, Braves
AL final postseason seeding: Yankees, Rangers, Tigers, Rays
NL final postseason seeding: Phillies, Brewers, D-backs, Cardinals
Yes, this is (obviously) the top pick. The Cardinals were 8 1/2 games behind the Braves on Sept. 1, and they came all the way back to win the Wild Card on the final day of the season. The Red Sox went 7-19 after Sept. 1 and lost their postseason spot on the same day. If this September is half this exciting, we'll be in for quite a ride.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.