clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Let’s predict the rest of the season

Sure, it’s only August, but let’s dare to glimpse into the future.

Tampa Bay Rays v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The only good San Francisco Giants fan is the fan who never thinks the team is out of it, not even after they’ve been eliminated from postseason contention. In April and May we hear in response to every setback or struggle, “It’s only [April or May].” Well, it’s only August 17th. There are 41 games remaining. Still plenty of time and it’s still too soon to draw conclusions!

Since this is the first of the final three Thursday off days of the season and the team is currently in the middle of its toughest month on the schedule, I figured now’s the best and only time to make a prediction about how the rest of the season will go.

Before the season and even through the first month of it, I was a firm believer that the team would wind up 84-78, with no prognosticative powers directed at what that meant for their playoff odds. I confess to getting caught up in the 10-game winning streak and then the 7-game winning streak and forgot about that prediction, but really, those streaks merely repaired what had been a surprisingly bad start to the season (11-16).

The Giants have had just two winning months in 2023 (17-12 in May and 18-8 in June) and four total across the past two seasons. They are 6-8 here in August and since that 7-game winning streak ended back on July 18th, they are 10-16. Their next 13 games will finish off this month and they’re all against playoff-level teams: Atlanta (6), Philadelphia (3), Cincinnati (3), Padres (1, kicking off a 4-game series).

September isn’t much easier, but it does include 9 games against two teams not in playoff contention (6 against the Rockies, 3 against the Guardians); but otherwise, it’s 3 against the Padres (concluding that 4-game series), 3 against the Cubs, 2 against Arizona, 3 more against the Padres, and 7 against the Dodgers. Ouch.

Against .500+ teams this season, the Giants are 35-29. Against losing teams they’re 29-28. It’s hard to remember, but they swept the Phillies back in May and they lead the season series 4-2 against the Dodgers.

That was fun.

Anyway, can we draw any meaningful conclusions from the team’s performance up to this point or is the lineup just so bad — so terrible, so awful, putrid, unwatchable — that all we’re doing now is watching a team in freefall? After the 10-game winning streak, I noted:

Of the 29 times the San Francisco team has had at least an 8-game winning streak, only thrice did those seasons not wind up being winning seasons: 1991, 1994*, and 2007. 1994 was strike-shortened, though, so it’s your choice if you want to hold that 55-60 against them. 91 can also be sort of hand-waved away because that team’s 11-game win streak began when they were 38-51 and only got them to 49-51. This year’s squad started their streak at .500 (32-32).

And if you just look at 10-game winning streaks, in the four times the Giants have had a streak exactly that long (2023, 2004, 1982, 1962), they all wound up being winning seasons, though 2004, 1982, and 1962 all ended rather painfully. Still, I’ll take the pain if it means this year’s team improves upon last year’s 81-81.

Can they get to 84 wins and will that be enough to get the 2nd or 3rd Wild Card (assuming Philadelphia has the #1 slot locked up)? Let’s run through the schedule, keeping in mind that I’m keeping in mind two immutable ideas:

  • the lineup will not be any better than about 10% worse than league average
  • the pitching will remain as good as it has been

Atlanta (3 away, 3 home)

Atlanta’s lineup is the best lineup in all of Baseball and the Giants will face it six times. Over the past 60 days — when the Giants have sunk to being the worst lineup in the entire sport — the Braves have averaged 6.7 runs per game. The Giants are averaging 3.5. Prediction: 1-5

Philadelphia (3 away)

While the Giants have the 2nd-best pitching in the NL, they’ll be facing the best pitching in MLB for three games in Philadelphia. Prediction: 1-2

Cincinnati (3 home)

There are have been many memorably bad series between the Giants and the Reds and while it feels like the Reds always win in San Francisco, they’re really just 38-39 all-time at Oracle Park and 5-4 in the Zaidi era. Probably a pretty great track record for a visiting team, actually, but not a clear sign that the Giants will get swept. That said, the Reds have been better on the road this season, with a 33-27 record away against 30-32 in Cincinnati. Prediction: 2-1.

San Diego (4 away, 3 home)

They’re 3-3 in the season series but have been outscored 41-30. The Padres are still under .500 at 58-63 and have the same 6-8 August record as the Giants as I type this, but they’re one of those teams that analytics says should have a better record. Not only because of their run differential — +64, creating a Pythagorean W-L of 67-54 — but their lineup is #10 in MLB by wRC+ and with defense and baserunning factored in a +19.1 fWAR, 6th-best in MLB. They also have the 9th-best pitching staff by fWAR (13.3). It’s a division rival on top of it, meaning these games will be hard fought, and with 7 games involved and the Padres underperforming — disappointing — but also just 4.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, the chance of some naked revenge for 2010 exists. Prediction: 3-4

Cubs (3 away)

The Giants are 5-1 in their last six games at Wrigley Field, but that was against a different phase of the Cubs’ rebuild. This year — and post All-Star break — seems to be the point where they’re emerging from it. They’re 20-11 in the second half and that’s despite a team ERA of 4.75. Their lineup is practically Atlanta-like right now, though, averaging 6.3 runs per game over the past month. Prediction: 1-2

Rockies (3 home, 4 away)

We’ve seen seasons made and unraveled with that September road trip to Colorado. The Rockies are a team the Giants should beat. Still, I predict this won’t be a 7-0 run, but I’ll give it a 5-2.

Guardians (3 home)

They’re a 27-35 road team (despite a +9 run differential) and just 5-9 in August. They have solid pitching but a bad lineup. Prediction: 2-1

Diamondbacks (2 away)

This feels like a trap series and it all depends on if Corbin Carroll and Ketel Marte have gotten back on track. Arizona is 12-26 since July 1st, and Carroll’s OPS in that span is just .714. It’s even worse in August (.578). Ketel’s has been .729 since July 1st and .461 in August. The Giants will get an off day before facing them, but it comes after a four-game series at Coors Field which itself ends a stretch of 11 games in 11 days. Prediction: 1-1

Dodgers (4 away, 3 home)

If you consider the 2021 NLDS to merely be an extension of the division race, than the Giants haven’t won a season series against the Dodgers since 2016. The Dodger team they bludgeoned in May is not the same as the team they’ll be facing in September. In fact, since the 47 games since that series, LA is 34-13. Prediction: 3-4

Add that all up and I miss my own preseason prediction by a game: 83-79. They probably don’t make it into the playoffs as the last Wild Card with that record, even though it’s not clear that 84 would be enough. I just think that’s the plausible ceiling for this bunch. I suppose they could go 6-1 against the Rockies to get to 84 or surprise with one additional win against a seemingly unstoppable Atlanta team, but what do you think? Can they get to 84 (or more) wins?


What will the Giants’ record be at season’s end?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    84-78 - 3rd Wild Card?
    (204 votes)
  • 1%
    105-57... or win the division somehow
    (11 votes)
  • 3%
    90-72 - 1st Wild Card
    (17 votes)
  • 24%
    88-74 - 2nd Wild Card
    (140 votes)
  • 23%
    Outcomes are bad. Only process matters.
    (132 votes)
  • 10%
    Something else, you idiot, but a W-L that still gets them a playoff spot.
    (60 votes)
564 votes total Vote Now