With 33 games left to play, the Giants’ playoff odds are down to 0.3% (that’s 0.1% to win the division and 0.2% to win a Wild Card spot). Most pundits and sober observers have written off the team by now — indeed, based on their comments yesterday, the front office seems to have done the very same thing — but this is a fan site and it’s our job to always back the team, no matter how they’re doing. Sober observation is for the birds. Real fans know their team is never finished.
Still, the odds are long. They’re 9 games behind first place Arizona in the NL West and 8 games back of the 2nd Wild Card. In the former case, they trail two teams besides Arizona: Colorado and Los Angeles. In the latter, they trail 6 teams: Pittsburgh, Washington, LA, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Colorado — although, really, it’s 8 teams if you consider that, technically, until they clinch, St. Louis and Arizona are still in the mix for both the Wild Card and their division. If you’re being really negative, you could expand the field to 10 to include the other division leaders (who’ve still yet to clinch), Atlanta and Chicago.
They’re about to be without Buster Posey for the rest of the season thanks to hip surgery and every indication is that Andrew McCutchen’s departure via trade is imminent. So, just how is our favorite baseball team gonna pull this off? Here we go:
Go 22-11 over these final 33 games
That would put them at 85-77. The Giants have only 12 games remaining against division opponents (3 vs. AZ, 6 @/vs. COL, 3 vs. LA) and 9 remaining against other teams in the hunt (3 @ MIL, 3 vs. ATL, 3 @ STL). Ideally, they’d win all 12 of the division matchups, 9 against the remaining playoff hopes, and one other. Hmm... you know what? That’s probably not going to cut it, given the staggering number of teams they’re competing against. So...
Go 33-0 over these final 33 games
96-66 should be enough to clinch one of the three playoff spots. The 12 games of the remaining 33 that aren’t against playoff chase rivals include the 3-game series that begins tonight against the Rangers, 3 versus the Mets, and 6 against the Padres. Sweep those 12 and the other 21 games, and the Giants should be able to close the gap. Like in the 22-11 scenario, the only way the team can pull this off is by playing to the level the fans expect and by counting on several professional baseball teams to go on simultaneous 10-12 game losing streaks.
One Long Game
The Rockies have been on a roll of late, winning 10 of 12, and at 70-57, they’re in a virtual tie with the Brewers for the second Wild Card spot. They play Arizona and Los Angeles six more times apiece. What if one of those games just... never ends? Extra inning upon extra inning... stretching across several days... perhaps a week. Eventually, some players will be driven to madness, having seen the cycle of their life flash before their very eyes. They will return to Earth reborn as a Star Baby, ready to gift humanity with their newfound knowledge. But before their return, the Rockies or the Diamondbacks or the Dodgers will have forfeit this game, and the other teams will have played the remaining games, and the Giants will have two fewer teams to worry about in their quest.
Mueller indicts the Dodgers
It’s hard to argue that politics and Baseball don’t mix when you consider that Major League Baseball successfully lobbied Congress to pay minor league baseball players less than minimum wage. Every team owner is obscenely wealthy, so it’s highly unlikely that any of them keep their fingers out of foreign money pies. Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC paid a lot of money for the Dodgers... makes you wonder just where it all came from. And Justin Turner crowds the plate with impunity... makes you wonder who told him he could do that. Now, the indictment would need to suggest wrongdoing that took place on the field, because that’s the only way Major League Baseball will make a suspension based on criminal charges extend into the postseason.
A Naked Gun situation
In the 1988 comedy The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) has to pose as a major league baseball umpire in order to stop the assassination of the Queen of England. Movies are great, but we live in the binge TV era, which means that a 2-hour story has to get stretched out over several days. Say a cop has to go undercover to expose a criminal enterprise (for example: a group has been circulating descriptions of the game without express written consent by Major League Baseball), but he has to gather as much evidence as possible. He’d have to play the umpire for an entire 3- or 4-game series. His inexperience and buffoonery will swing a series’ outcome thereby improving the Giants’ playoff odds.
Go 23-10 over these final 33 games
The longest unbeaten streak in MLB history belongs to the 1916 New York Giants (26). The longest winning streak belongs to last year’s Cleveland team (22). If the Giants could just rip off, I don’t know, 20 in a row, then they’d be set. Or, look at the rest of the season as being three discrete 11-game packages. Go 7-3, 7-3, 9-4 in those chunks and you’re alllllll set. Sure, the Giants haven’t won at a clip like this all season long, but that just means they’re due.
It’s not an easy path back to the playoffs, but as you can see, the Giants are well on their way.