Monday, August 29, 2005

The Giants' (Slim) Chances

Starting today, there are five full weeks left in the season. This marks the point in the schedule where a majority of NL West ball is intra-division. Four of the five teams play each other at all times from now until October and each team plays two series against each other team. But I keep hearing from odd sources how if the Padres, D-Backs and Dodgers keep losing, and the Giants, at only 7 games out, keep (ahem!...start!) winning, the Giants could end up winning this thing. Let's analyze this for a few minutes...

Although it's still mathematically possible, it's quite improbable. One problem is that if any teams ahead of the Giants lose, other teams ahead of the Giants need to beat them. Eighty percent of the remaining NL West schedule is intra-division, with 60% being between the four "contending" teams, SD, AZ, LA and SF, and a whopping 40% between the teams ahead of the Giants. So, in reality the teams ahead of the Giants need to play combined .500 splits between them so that one team doesn't run away with it. The Giants need to catch and pass all three teams. Needless to say, in addition to winning, the Giants will need some big-time help. Consider this... if either AZ or LA play .500 ball the rest of the way, the Giants will need to go 19-14 just to stay in it. If the Padres play .500 ball, the Giants will need to go 24-9 just to tie! So just how will those teams lose enough other games to help the Giants out?

Well, of the 60% of games not played between the teams ahead of the Giants, a full third of them are against the Colorado Rockies, the worst team in the league. Combined with the need for the Giants to win (another third of their games are against the Giants), this would mean the Rockies will have to play Jeckyl & Hyde baseball. Skunk SD, AZ and LA and roll over against the Giants. The remaining third of the games are out-of division games against mostly (you could have guessed it) losing teams. Now, hold your hat, it gets worse.

In fact, with five weeks left for each of the three teams ahead of the Giants, a combined total of 15 weeks of baseball will be played by them. And out of those 15 weeks of baseball a grand total of THREE GAMES will be played (by the Padres) against ONE TEAM that is only FOUR GAMES above .500.

Of all the pennant races in history, this would be by far the biggest miracle ever if the Giants won it. Go Giants!?

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