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Giants are facing an uphill climb

Suddenly the path to the postseason isn’t looking particularly easy.

San Francisco Giants v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants lost to the Colorado Rockies on Monday night, and my headline read as such: Giants get pummeled in a game they couldn’t afford to lose.

It was slightly hyperbolic, but only slightly. The loss didn’t end the season — not even close. But my goodness, they were standing at the bottom of the mountain, staring up at the 15-mile hike, and decided to empty their water bottle and step on a rattlesnake before heading up.

With the loss the Giants let go of their spot in the postseason, and moved into the dreaded land of “on the outside looking in.”

Entering Tuesday’s games, here’s the postseason race:

NL Wild Card

Team Record
Team Record
Miami Marlins 28-26
St. Louis Cardinals 26-25
Cincinnati Reds 28-27
Philadelphia Phillies 27-27
Milwaukee Brewers 26-27
San Francisco Giants 26-27

Those teams in bold are currently in the fifth and sixth seeds, spared of the Wild Card race due to being in second in their division. But as you can see, they’re close to flip-flopping with some Wild Card teams.

On the surface it’s not bad. The Giants are on the outside, but only by a half game, though they share that half-game deficit with the Milwaukee Brewers.

But on closer inspection, it’s ugly.

There will be no extra games to determine tiebreakers this year. Instead, tiebreakers are determined by head-to-head performance, followed by intra-division performance.

The former doesn’t apply to the Giants. The latter, unfortunately, does.

Here’s how the Giants stack up:

Tiebreakers

Team Intra-division record
Team Intra-division record
Miami Marlins 20-17
Philadelphia Phillies 20-17
St. Louis Cardinals 19-16
Cincinnati Reds 20-18
Milwaukee Brewers 16-17
San Francisco Giants 15-18

The Giants are done no favors by sharing a division with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, but believe me when I say that no one cares, and no one is sympathetic.

So it seems most likely that the Giants will need to actually finish in sole possession of a Wild Card spot, rather than just tied. And the fact that they have four games left against the Padres isn’t exactly a blessing.

Let’s look at who the other teams are facing.

Schedules

Team Remaining games
Team Remaining games
Miami Marlins 3 @ Braves (32-22), 3 @ Yankees (31-23)
St. Louis Cardinals 2 @ Royals (22-32), 5 vs. Brewers (26-27)
Cincinnati Reds 2 vs. Brewers (26-27), 3 @ Twins (33-22)
Philadelphia Phillies 3 @ Nationals (21-32), 3 @ Rays (36-19)
Milwaukee Brewers 2 @ Reds (28-27), 5 @ Cardinals (26-25)
San Francisco Giants 3 vs. Rockies (24-29), 4 vs. Padres (34-20)

It’s hard to know what to root for, because there’s so much overlap in the schedules. Ultimately, the Giants need a few teams to fall on their face, and can root for the Phillies and Marlins to lose as much as possible.

The Giants need a little help. But more than anything, they need to win a bunch of their remaining games to have a chance.