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What do the Giants need to do to make the Wild Card Game?

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“Be a better team for the last two and a half months,” while accurate, is not an acceptable answer

San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Giants open up their final homestand of the regular season tonight, and somehow, I didn’t have to say "final homestand of the year" there. According to BP’s Playoff Odds report, the Giants have a 66.8% chance of making the wild card game, so to whoever wished on the monkey’s paw that they’d still be in the race the last week of the season: Good job. You sure got your wish.

How’s the race stacking up in the final week? Let’s take a look!

The Mets are:

83-74 on the year with a +37 run differential
14-10 in the month of September
36-33 in the second half
Going to play 2 more games in Miami, take an off day, then play 3 in Philadelphia

The Cardinals are:

81-75 on the year with a +46 run differential
11-13 in the month of September
35-33 in the second half
Going to play 3 more home games against the Reds, and then 3 against the Pirates

The Giants are:

82-74 on the year with a +57 run differential
11-14 in the month of September
25-41 in the second half
Going to play 3 games at home against the Rockies, and then 3 against the Dodgers
Literally the worst team ever to play the sport of baseball, including the Pony League team I was on in the mid-’90s that won one game all year

Those are the facts, people. I’m just collecting facts here.

Of those three teams, two of them are going to make the wild card game and one of them is going to go on to play the Cubs in the Actual Real Playoffs. We are all presumably rooting for the Giants to be one of those two teams, though if anyone out there is tired of watching the stupid Giants play stupid baseball stupidly, I think everyone else can understand that.

But let’s assume that we want to see the Giants in the wild card game. What do you think it will take to get them there? Well, fortunately, I cribbed from Grant and made a table. Here’s that table:

If the Giants go They need either the Mets to go Or the Cardinals to go
5-1 3-2 5-1
4-2 2-3 4-2
3-3 1-4 3-3
2-4 0-5 2-4
1-5 - 1-5
0-6 - 0-6

Now, those are scenarios where they make the wild card game without a tiebreaker. If you’d like, you can subtract one win from the Mets or Cardinals to get a scenario where they’re tied with the Giants. Because that would be fun. An extra Giants game this year would be fun. That’s something everyone wants and is in no way dreading more than the actual Wild Card Game, which we are also dreading.

So what’s the most likely scenario that gets the Giants into the playoffs? Well, they’re 9-10 in their last 19 games, which is almost .500 ball, so let’s say they go 3-3. Then the Cardinals also go 3-3 because they’ve been basically just as bad in September as the Giants. Then the Giants play the Mets in the Wild Card Game! Then we all get nauseous and wonder why we ever wanted this. Playoff baseball, baby!

Let’s wrap up with a comment starter. How many games do you think the Giants will win over the last week of the year, and how many do you think they need to win? Keep in mind it is not possible for them to win negative games, so don’t even think about it.