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Why you're rooting for the Diamondbacks

Or, why you don't have to root against the Pirates just yet.

Stephen Dunn

The Giants are a game behind the Pirates for the wild card lead, and because they lost the season series against the Pirates, they're essentially two games behind in the race to host the National League Wild Card Game at home. If the Pirates lose two against the Reds, and the Giants would have to sweep the Padres. If the Pirates get swept, the Giants would still have to win two of their last three.

However. There is another way. You should root for it.

The Pirates are also a game behind the Cardinals for the NL Central. If ...

  1. The Cardinals win one game against the Diamondbacks
  2. The Pirates win two games against the Reds
  3. The Giants win three games against the Padres


  1. The Cardinals get swept
  2. The Pirates win one game
  3. The Giants win two games

Then there would be an NL Central playoff. If the Pirates win that game, the Cardinals are the wild card team. And because the Giants were 4-3 against them this year, they would travel to San Francisco.

That's not the only scenario, either. Another scenario would be for the Pirates to win the division outright, either by a) winning two games while the Cardinals are swept or b) winning three games while the Cardinals drop two of three. If that happens, the Cardinals would be the wild card and the Giants would host.

Note: Even though the NL Central game would technically be a regular-season game, and if the Pirates lost, they would technically be a half-game behind the Giants in terms of record, they would still use the standard tiebreaker.

I'm not sure if it makes a difference if the Cardinals have to play an NL Central playoff with regard to Adam Wainwright. I think they might keep him in the holster for either the Wild Card Game or Game 1 of the NLDS, so it doesn't matter to the Giants if the Cardinals have to play an extra day. Other than them being butt-tired and flying a couple of time zones after that game, that is.

Got all that?




Right, right. I understand.


Listen, the point is that there's still a chance for the Giants to host the NL Wild Card Game, and it doesn't have to do with the Pirates losing. It has to do with the Diamondbacks winning. Which, when you put it like that, makes it seem like I sure wasted an awful lot of minutes and words. But stranger things have happened.

Stranger things have happened.

(Thanks to Dave and Wendy for helping me through this and being patient with me while I was wrong over and over again last night.)