It breaks down like this…
The Giants (before tonight’s tilt with the Dodgers) sit 5.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West. They sit 3.5 behind the Wild Card leading Atlanta Braves with the St. Louis Cardinals sandwiched in-between the G’s and Braves, who are 2 games up on San Francisco and 1.5 back of the Braves.
Both Arizona and Atlanta are idle this evening, meaning the Cardinals and Giants each pick up that half game with a victory.
To finish the season (after tonight), the following will take place:
San Francisco – three at Arizona, three vs. Colorado
St. Louis – three vs. Chicago, three at Houston
Atlanta – three at Washington (Strasburg starting Friday), three vs. Philadelphia
Arizona – three vs. San Francisco, three vs. Los Angeles
Of the schedules, it would appear on the surface that Arizona and St. Louis hold the best bets as the D’Backs never have to hop onto a plane in their final six and the Cardinal’s get six versus two sub-par squads, but, we all know what meets the eye doesn’t always reflect in the box score. Somebody should ask the 2010 Padres how their final stance versus the Cubs went last year…
The Braves, still in the midst of a nasty slide, finish it out with what would appear to be the most difficult of the schedules, facing a gritty Nationals team which will include a Strasburg start along with three versus a Philly squad which intends (according to
Charlie Manuel) to play their starters as long as there is a race taking place. I personally think that’s a good, not great idea….har…HAR.
For the Giants, their backs are against the wall. Winning out is essentially their only option for a chance at the National League West title. A win tonight along with a sweep in Arizona and they sit two back with three to play. It’s an extreme longshot even with a sweep this weekend, but stranger things have taken place. Either way, for a second consecutive NL West crown, it’s going to take winning out and a little help from the Dodgers in Arizona.
From the Wild Card perspective, the Giants may have one mulligan to play with, but doing so is playing with fire. Finishing the season on a 6-1 streak would put the Giants at a 90-72 record, meaning the Braves would have to go 2-4, the Cards 4-3 to finish their season (for a playoff scenario) – again, stranger things have happened.
Making the playoffs would essentially consist of the Giants going 15-2 or 16-1 to end their 2011 season (going back to the Padres series when their winning “streak” began). Seems storybook….
So how does that book finish?