Aug 19, 2014; Chicago, IL, San Francisco Giants relief pitcherSantiago Casilla
(46) reacts with catcherBuster Posey
(28) as they beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
It seems a bit silly to say this is a big series because let’s be honest, they are all big series at this point. This upcoming series with the Washington Nationals does seem to carry an unusually heavy weight though for several reasons. I believe how they play in this series could potentially define our playoff hopes. Check out the series preview here.
Since June, we’ve been waiting for an answer to what kind of team the 2014 San Francisco Giants are. Are they the good team they were up until June 9th or are they the bad team they have been ever since? Oddly enough, the 4 game series they played against the Nats in June was the beginning of 2 very awful months of baseball. Let’s look at the numbers for the series they’ve played since they swept the Mets June 6th-8th.
Total Series Played: 20
Series Won: 8
Series Lost/Split: 12
Series Won Against Playoff Teams: 1
Series Lost Against Playoff Teams: 8
Series Won Against Non-Playoff Teams: 7
Series Lost Against Non-Playoff Teams: 3
These numbers are more than concerning. The only team the Giants have won a series against that is still in contention was the Marlins, I’m using the word “contention” loosely with them. The Giants have lost 8 series to teams in playoff contention against the Nationals, Cardinals, A’s, Dodgers, Pirates, Brewers and Royals. They also lost a series against the Reds who are working their way out of playoff contention but I wouldn’t count them out just yet. The Giants NEED to win a series against a good team to prove they belong in this group of contenders and to keep their confidence up. They need to have some hard-fought and tough victories to keep the swagger going into the final month of what has been a weird season to say the least.
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If we just go by the numbers, the Giants are 67-59 with 36 games remaining. They probably need to win at least 22 of those games to make it in as a Wild Card team and I don’t think anything less than 92 wins will earn them a Division Title. Check out the upcoming series for the competition here. The point here is that they are running out of games they can lose and still expect to be a playoff team. The Giants have 3 remaining series total against playoff teams outside of the division with the Brewers and Tigers remaining on the schedule after this weekend. The Dodgers only play one more series against a contending team outside of the division when they play the Nationals on September 1st-3rd. Basically, the Giants can’t fall any further from the Dodgers and they need to win at least 4 out of 6 of their remaining games against the Dodgers.
This is a lot to ask of a team that hasn’t been able to beat the good teams since the end of May but it’s not impossible. The starting pitching is giving them a chance to win in almost every game but the offense really needs to produce. This team is built around Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval and these are the guys who need to make it happen. If the Giants can score early, they’ve proven they can be successful. This is absolutely key to winning games against the hottest team in the National League right now. If the San Francisco Giants can prove they can hang with this Nationals team this weekend, then they can stay in this race. If not, we are looking at a strong possibility of missing the playoffs for 2 consecutive years.