The Giants are now six games back of the San Diego Padres. Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.
But the team is still in the hunt for the wild-card. All is not lost. There is still a chance – a legitimate, realistic chance – that the San Francisco Giants can still make the playoffs. All they have to do is win a few games. Maybe a couple dozen or so. A bunch, okay. Fine. They have to win a bunch. But they could do it. It seems like a lost cause right now because we’re down, but they could play like they did last month. Sure.
So this is what we’re reduced to. Rooting for the wild-card. It’s an ungodly, abominable idea, and I write that as someone who supports the concept of four teams in each league making the playoffs. You should root against the Giants making the playoffs as the wild-card. Hope for a stirring divisional comeback against a slumping Padres. Pray for a division title. Forget the wild card. Here’s why:
Giants. Padres. NLCS.
Oh, that first series against the Reds or Cardinals or Braves or Phillies would be gruesome and nerve-wracking. We’d chew our nails down to the cuticles. We’d worry about which Tim Lincecum would show up. We’d worry if the almost-average offense would start hacking at pitches three feet off the plate. More so, even.
But they’d win. They’d take the series. Someone would get a big hit, and someone would pitch a big game. They’d win, and we’d be ecstatic. We’d get confident, maybe. This place would buzz. The city would buzz. Remember how it felt when the Giants beat the Braves in 2002? This would feel better. And then it would happen.
Giants. Padres. NLCS.
David Eckstein would get three hits off balls that deflect off seagulls. He'd advance to second on foul pop-ups, advance to third on wild pitches, and then score on groundouts each time. Adrian Gonzalez would crush us every chance he got. Clayton Richard would allow six doubles with no one out in six consecutive innings. The Giants will fail to score in every one of them. Yorvit Torrealba, methed-out finch that he is, would set an NLCS record for hits in a six-game series. Yeah, I wrote "six-game series." The Giants will take a couple of games. You know, to play with us just a little.
The Giants would scratch and claw and double play their way into a couple of runs to get close, but some faceless slider-tossing goof would come out and shut everything down. He probably isn’t even on the roster right now. One of the current goofs would go down to an injury, and the Padres would just make another one out of mud like an orc. They’d give him a name like "Ryan Davids", and he’d throw 93-mph sinkers and sliders that break five feet. Aaron Rowand just swung at one. He knocked over a water cooler in the clubhouse and everything.
Scott Hairston would hit four home runs. Jerry Hairston, Jr. would be on base each time. Jerry Hairston, Sr. would have six pinch hits. And Harpo Hairston would just stare at you and honk that damned horn while you tried to watch the damned game.
When the Giants load the bases against Heath Bell in the sixth game of the series, down by one run, and Jose Guillen’s fly ball travels 450 feet before it’s caught in shallow center field, you will cry. You will cry like an infant. You will suck your thumb, and you will call in sick to work the next day. The pain will ruin relationships in your life. And then the Padres would lose in the World Series to the Yankees, which would make you bleed from different orifices for different reasons.
So the Giants should probably win the division. And with the wins they’re giving the Phillies and Braves, they’re doing the right thing to ensure that the Padres can’t win the wild-card after they slump their way into second place. Because there can’t be a postseason in which the Giants and Padres make it at the same time. There just can’t. You know how it would end.
I’m in a dark place right now. Forget I wrote this, even if you know it’s true.