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Updating the Giants' chances to win the NL West

They aren't good chances. But they're not dead yet.

Ezra Shaw

The Giants probably aren't going to win the National League West.

This is not the opinion of a galloping cynic or raging pessimist. It's just the pragmatic way to look at the next two weeks. The odds of the Giants winning the NL West, according to the geomancers:

Baseball Prospectus: 5.8%
FanGraphs: 3.3%

And that stupid table, repurposed for our discussion:

If the Dodgers go … Then the Giants would have to do at least this to tie them …
12-0 Nope
11-1 Nope
10-2 Nope
9-3 Nope
8-4 12-0
7-5 11-1
6-6 10-2
5-7 9-3
4-8 8-4
3-9 7-5
2-10 6-6
1-11 5-7
0-12 4-8

The difference between this table and the one that I've been tinkering with over the last week is that I can see some of these happening. The Dodgers going 5-7 over the next two weeks, with the Giants going 9-3? Yeah, I can see that. It might not be likely, but considering that the two teams play three more times, it isn't completely whacked. It passes the New York Times test, which I wrote about here:

I like to use the New York Times Yardstick of Perspective. That is, what would appear on the front page of the New York Times sports section? Astros win 20 straight? Sure. That'd be on there. How about the A's winning 20 straight in 2002? Probably, yeah.


How about the Giants going into Los Angeles in late August and sweeping a series? No, no, that's not something that'd be on the front of the sports page of the New York Times. That's just one of the things that happens in baseball. It's not likely, but it can happen. Like it did this August.

I wrote that as a way to rationalize the idea that the Giants could come back in the 2012 NLDS against the Reds.

looks at self in mirror and winks

It's my default way of pretending there's a chance. If the Giants won their next four and the Dodgers dropped their next four, and the Giants played one game better for the following eight games, it wouldn't be on the front of the NYT sports section. It would be a perfectly reasonable set of baseball-related happenings, nothing more. So I'm not giving up. Was it over when Shawn Estes started against the Reds in the 2012 NLCS?

But it's not likely. This means we have to contemplate a world in which the Giants' entire season -- one hundred and sixty-two freaking games -- has to come down to three hours of baseball. Maybe Doug Eddings is behind the plate. Maybe Angel Hernandez. Maybe the Pirates or Brewers will start a mediocre pitcher just up from the minor leagues, knowing that's the Giants' kryptonite. Everything you watched, every three-hour chunk of your time, every throaty scream after a walk-off hit, every sad slump after a walk-off loss, it's probably all going to come down to three hours.

Three hours of baseball, which can be really stupid, you know.

The odds aren't good, the odds aren't impossible, the odds probably won't be overcome, root for the odds to be overcome. It was Casey Stengel who said, "Never tell me the odds, kid." Now we know why.

Stupid Mark Trumbo.