This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.
At the beginning of the season, it seemed as if the San Francisco Giants had the perfect recipe to repeat this season as World Series champions. First of all, they basically have the same roster that they did last season, minus a few players who are injured.
Second, despite the struggles they’ve endured this season, they won six elimination games to stay alive in the playoffs last season, so they’re a resilient team. Because of these facts, you would think the Giants have what it takes to make a miraculous comeback and somehow sneak into the playoffs at the end of the season, just like they did in 2010.
However, that would be an incredible feat, bordering on impossible and closer to extremely unlikely. The Giants have an incredible ability to never give up, but the numbers alone might prevent them from going to the playoffs this season.
First of all, they currently have a 50-61 record and are 12 games back from the Dodgers in the NL West. They’d have to go 31-20 the rest of the season, just to reach .500. However, reaching .500 is rarely good enough to make the playoffs.
The Giants are currently in last place in the NL West. Even though the NL West has been a little disgraceful this season, there is still very little chance the Giants could win the division. The Los Angeles Dodgers are 62-49, the Arizona Diamondbacks are in second at 56-55, the San Diego Padres are 52-60, and the Colorado Rockies are 52-61. The Dodgers, unfortunately, will most likely be representing the NL West in the playoffs.
The Giants would have a rough time making the playoffs though even in a wild card spot. The Atlanta Braves will most likely win the NL East, and there isn’t much competition for a wild card spot there since the second-place team is the Washington Nationals, who have a 54-58 record right now. There are three incredibly talented teams in the NL Central though, so two of them will most likely take the two wild card spots. The Pittsburgh Pirates are currently first with a 67-44 record, the St. Louis Cardinals are second with a 65-46 record, and the Cincinnati Reds are third with a 61-51 record.
Since the starting pitchers are doing well right now, Ryan Vogelsong is coming back soon, the rest of the division isn’t making a strong push to the playoffs (besides the Dodgers), Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig are dealing with injuries, and with this current series against the last-place Milwaukee Brewers, the Giants would’ve had an opportunity to turn this August into a meaningful month.
However, the Giants are still 12 games back, which is a significant amount of games to overcome, even if the NL West is pretty awful. If the Giants had had a good homestand against the Miami Marlins, the New York mets, and the Chicago Cubs, they could’ve had a shot at coming back.
Instead, the Giants went 3-7 and basically eliminated all hope at making a second half comeback. The Giants have failed to meet expectations all season, and they’ve had several chances to at least stay competitive too.
For example, on this last road trip against the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays, the Giants went 3-3. Although this doesn’t sound like a poor record, the Giants could’ve easily finished the road trip with a better record. Their starting pitching was excellent and they started getting more offensive contributions from Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford. However, they lost two one-run games to end the trip, so what could have been a quality road trip turned into a disappointment.
The Giants tried to be sellers and trade Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence, or Javier Lopez at the trade deadline. They shopped them in order to try to get back a major league-ready starting pitcher in return, which they will need next next season. Even though the Giants didn’t end up trading any of those players, the Giants made a statement to the rest of MLB that they wanted to focus on next year and move on from this season.
Until it becomes mathematically impossible, the Giants are always going to believe that they can come back. This is valid, given their success in last season’s playoffs. Even though it’s unlikely the Giants will make a second half comeback, fans around the Bay Area and the nation have to admire their “never say die” attitude.