The San Francisco Giants completed a series win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday and paired with a sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Giants have pulled closer to first place. Sure, the Phillies are a team they should beat 2 out of 3 games but the Giants played good baseball at home for once and were able to grind out some key wins.
For all of my fellow Marty Lurie and KNBR junkies, during the postgame show Sunday night Marty asked people to call in with their outrageous predictions. There were a good range of things that people said from Madison Bumgarner hitting his 3rd grand slam before the season is over to Tim Lincecum getting a save to win the NL West on the final day of the season. Please add any outrageous predictions you have in the comments so we can see how many came true after September 28th! Mine was that they would go 29 and 10 over the last 39 games of the season and beat out the Dodgers to win the NL West.
Now I know a lot of things need to happen for my prediction to come true but nothing is impossible and as we all like to say, there’s a reason they play all 162. Here are 5 reasons why I think the San Francisco Giants will win the NL West.
1. The Resurgence of the Bullpen
Let’s just forget the game on Friday night and look at it as a small blip in the radar. The bullpen has seemingly returned to stellar form and were especially dominant in the 2 wins in this series after neither starter made it more than 5 innings. Sergio Romo notched his first save since June 20th and had another great performance in the 8th on Sunday. If he keeps pitching well and you have Romo and Santiago Casilla to close out a game with Javier Lopez if you really need to play the match ups, teams aren’t going to have much hope when it gets to the 9th. Get a lead and hand the ball to the bullpen.
2. The Rookies Coming Through in the Clutch
These youngsters brought up from Fresno have really been starting to show promise and have started contributing in the clutch when the team needs them the most. The 5-9 spots in the lineup were responsible for all of the RBIs in the game on Sunday and Joe Panik and Andrew Susac have really started to shine. Can you imagine if the top 4 in the Giants line up start clicking and coming through and we keep getting quality at bats out of the bottom of the order? This lineup could definitely become a huge threat top to bottom if that happens.
3. Dodgers Injuries and Poor Home Record
Anyone who wants to cry “injuries” for the Giants can’t really say that other teams aren’t experiencing the same thing and still winning games. Granted, the Dodgers injuries have been more frequent and shorter stints whereas the Giants have had injuries to key players for very long stints. The point is that the injuries are happening to the Dodgers now and the Giants need to win games while the Dodgers are a little less potent and might lose an extra game or two in a series.
The Dodgers also apparently don’t play well at home either. The fact that they just got swept at home really helps solidify that point. Believe it or not, the Giants and Dodgers are both playing .500 baseball at home. The Dodgers are 30-30 while the Giants are 32-32. This also means that the Dodgers play 4 more home games than the Giants do for the remainder of the season. This is a really strange trend but if the Dodgers want to keep with it, I fully support that.
4. The Rest of the NL West
I don’t really need to spend too much time explaining how terrible the rest of this division is. Both teams play almost entirely divisional games the whole month of September and even though it benefits both teams, the bigger point is that it should equate to wins. If they are going to get 29 of them just like I have planned, the NL West should help with that. The bottom line is that the division is probably going to come down to who wins the 6 remaining games between the Giants and Dodgers. I will go ahead and add to my outrageous prediction and say the Giants will win 5 of the 6. That should pretty much lock up the race. You can all stop worrying and crunching numbers, I’ve found the magic formula and the answer. You’re welcome.
We’ve been here before. We have players on this team who have been here twice before. Bruce Bochy is a ninja when it comes to managing a team down the stretch and he understands the sense of urgency here. On KNBR this morning, Mike Krukow talked about what Hunter Pence said to him yesterday on the plane, “I just want you guys to know that we’re going to make a run. We are in a good place right now.”
If Hunter Pence is in, I’m in. If it wasn’t for his never say die attitude and sunflower seed tossing abilities, the Giants are not parading down Market Street with a second World Series Trophy in 3 years. So believe in The Reverend and his crazy eyes because he won’t let you down. The players on this team know that they need to step it up and keep winning games and they know how to play hard when it really counts. Now is that time.
I still strongly believe that this team is capable of being as good as they were in the first 2 months of the season. The talent is there, the desire is there and the chemistry is there. This team wants to win and they won’t settle for just a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.