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The NL West is a game of rock-paper-scissors right now. The Diamondbacks can't beat the Giants who can't beat the Dodgers who can't beat the Padres who can't beat the Giants who can't beat the Dodgers who can't beat the Diamondbacks.... that can get confusing. All of these teams should rightfully be runners-up to the runners-up in a good division, but the race is entertaining in a celebrity Jeopardy kind of way.

And it is a race. And the Giants are somehow still in it. After the indescribable spell of losing, the team is now the hottest team in the league. Four games back is my own personal take-interest point. Five games back? I hope the team wins, but find it hard to get too emotionally invested in any single game. Four games back, especially before September even rolls around, and every game has an air of importance to it. The cutoff point is completely arbitrary, but I used this season as the foundation for it.

Baseball Prospectus gives the Giants a 4.8% chance to win the NL West. That doesn't sound good. So we'll have to Google "4.8% chance" to see what comes up. You know, for encouragement's sake:

Bob Graham was given a 4.8% chance by some random pundit to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2004.

The Giants were given a 4.8% chance of winning the NL West in 2004 as of 10/1/04. (Ctrl-F and search for "4.8")

Interesting hit on that last one, but so far there isn't anything to get excited about. That search just made me hate politics and Steve Finley more. Part of the problem is the lack of results brought back using "4.8", so I'll switch the search parameters to try and find "one-in-twenty chance". That brings up:

Pat Sajak pointing out that you have about a 5% chance of correctly selecting a consonant in Wheel of Fortune. That's encouraging, as I've seen consonants correctly picked on Wheel of Fortune every day. I'll just try to forget the obvious and glaring flaws in that logic, and use it to maintain hope. Also, note that I really don't watch Wheel of Fortune every day. Sometimes I'll TiVo a week's worth and just binge, you know?

According to the Wartburg Trumpet, there were twenty Miss Iowa competitors in 2005, each with a 5% chance of winning. One of them did win. So it can happen for the Giants, too. Chulk another one up for the encouraging column.

You have about a 5% chance of avoiding conviction if caught driving with a blood-alcohol level of .18% or more in the state of California. There's only one possible reaction to news like that.

The main theme, however, is that searching for "one-in-twenty chance" brings up mostly depressing results. And I'm not referring to "baseball depressing", but more "real life depressing". Casualty rates, diseases, earthquakes, floods, role-playing games...yeesh. I have no idea what that means for the Giants in the cosmic sense.

I'm excited about the mini-surge, though, even if the Giants are a supremely flawed team. A winning streak isn't the time to quibble about faulty roster construction or unlikable closers. Because of the recent success, every day is just another opportunity to root for the Giants to win and for the Dodgers to lose. I can handle that.