In the `80s movie version of the 2005 NL West, the climax comes with a muscle-bound villain -- Dolph Lundgren? -- laying his opponent to waste, and leaving him for dead. Slowly, the Terminator-like beast rises from the ashes, and it starts lumbering after Dolph, who grits his teeth and mutters, "Why won't you just die?"
No, no, let's just switch this around. Instead of Dolph Lundgren and Arnold Schwarzenegger...let's see Ben Stein and Steve Buscemi. In fact, let's forget the penultimate fighting scene, and just make the last 15 minutes of the movie a single camera shot of two 90-year old people making love. One of them is going to finish first, but no one really wins. If you had presented the scenario of the Giants being able to take the division back in July -- even with the current, remote chance they cling to now -- it would have been a popular scenario. The Giants were dead. Now all they would have to do now is sweep a four-game series from a sub-.500 team, and that would leave them with a great chance. So easy, yet....
Sweeping a four-game series from anyone isn't easy. Sweeping a four-game series from a team desperate not to embarrass themselves is harder. Doing it all with a bad team, and with Matt Kinney taking the place of Jason Schmidt, is almost impossible. But while writing the Giants off has become a bit of a sport, the sport makes you look like an idiot more often than not. As terrible as the Giants were this year, especially leading up to the All-Star break, the Padres are that terrible right now. Where it was once Alex Sanchez getting crucial at-bats for a delusional NL West contender, now it is Manny Alexander doing the same.
No guarantees, but you have to go back to the Newspaper Headline Theorem. Would the series of events normally lead to a 64-point headline on the Chronicle? That is, would all other coverage be preempted to show a headline of "GIANTS SWEEP FOUR FROM PADRES!" in June? Of course not. While not necessarily likely, it isn't so ridiculous as to give up all hope. The Giants have no business being here, and will likely drop one, two , three, or four games this week, ending their hopes completely. But to have a chance is pretty amazing.
This is going to be one heck of a slap-fight.