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A once in a lifetime chance for the Giants

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I was around in August. You know, last week. I was paying attention to baseball and everything. So if someone could explain how the Giants are just a game-and-a-half away from home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, I'd sure appreciate it.



W L ERA GS IP H ER HR BB SO
Matt Cain                     

2 2 3.00 6 39.0 36 13 2 7 38


W L ERA GS IP H ER HR BB SO
Tim Lincecum            

0 5 7.82 5 25.1 33 22 5 13 27


W L ERA GS IP H ER HR BB SO
Barry Zito                     

0 4 7.76 5 26.2 38 23 6 12 18


W L ERA GS IP H ER HR BB SO
Jonathan Sanchez    

2 2 3.53 6 35.2 26 14 5 16 36


W L ERA GS IP H ER HR BB SO
Madison Bumgarner
1 1 5.29 6 32.1 47 19 5 10 18

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
Generated 9/8/2010.


That was the rotation. The team strength. The constant. The only thing we could count on for the past two years. When the pennant race started to tighten, three rotation members imploded. They pulled other starters into their gravity. They absorbed all light, reflecting none. They sucked. And how.

With three-plus weeks left in the season, the Giants are just a game-and-half back from the best record in the National League. And we may ask ourselves, well, how did we get here? This is not my beautiful rotation. This is not my beautiful lineup.

Of course, it's not time to start pouring champagne over each other just yet. If the season ended today, the Giants wouldn't make the playoffs. But I know exactly how the Giants would have gotten there. That road map is not a mystery. We all remember the limp offensive performances, the rough starts, and the bullpen meltdowns. We might tell ourselves, this is so our out-of-code shanty. We might tell ourselves, this is exactly our wife, looking like Julian Tavarez in pantyhose.

I have no idea how to describe this team. It doesn't feel like a league-chomping juggernaut like the 2000 team did in the second half. It doesn't feel like a team of destiny and luck like the 1997 team did. The 2010 team feels like a blank slate. They've blown our minds with thrilling wins, like the four-homer comeback win against the Dodgers and Jonathan Broxton. Remember that? That was awesome.

Sigh. So awesome.

Wait, sorry. Just thinking about the look of disappointment on Broxton's face as he turned to watch Juan Uribe's ball leave the yard. Remember that? That was awesome.

Anyways, the Giants have also crushed our spirits with brutal losses. They've lost a one-hitter, a game in which they rallied from nine down, and a 15-inning game against a division rival. They've often scored just enough to tantalize, but not enough to win, just like last year.  Duane Kuiper picked up on it early. Giants baseball: torture.

That's why I'm just filled with optipessimism. I'm getting greedy, and starting to think that if the starters are as good in September as they were awful in August, maybe they will somehow end up with the best record in the NL.  I don't know how they're in the position to even think about that, but they are. But I'm also thinking that the Giants blew their best chance by not winning more games during the Padres' losing streak, and that the Padres are still going to out-doink the Giants in their seven remaining games against each other.

I've never been this conflicted about a team since I've followed sports. I could write a 1,000-word essay on why they're going to be eliminated from contention next week. I could write a 1,000-world essay on why they're going to end up with home-field advantage. It's frustrating. It's really, really frustrating.

It's also pretty danged fun. No point, really. It's just kind of a weird season. Same as it ever was.