Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are the Giants out of it? Not by a long shot (and other clichés)

The San Francisco Giants had a bit of a hard home stand dropping 2 of 3 to the bottom dwelling Arizona Diamondbacks and the first game against the fellow playoff contender Colorado Rockies. The losses feel magnified this time of year and many are acting as if the air has been let out of the teams balloons.

I have a plan to shake people back into rational thinking like any good sports writer. It is time to break of the clichés to explain that the team still has a chance to make the playoffs.

The team has gone into a little bit of a funk and it is getting to the point where there backs are up against the wall, it just takes a couple of the leaders to step up and this ship will be righted. The baseball season is 162 games; it is a marathon and not a sprint. One game doesn't send a team to the World Series and the Giants just need to take it one game at a time. The veteran presence won't let this team get too down, they keep the clubhouse chemistry loose and fun, and it is one of the intangibles in a veteran team. They just know how to win and given the time the will perform. This team has fought too hard and has too much mental toughness to just roll over and die. If they give it 110 percent and buy into what Bruce Bochy is selling and play as a team this team can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get back into the race.

Ladies and gentlemen that is a grand total of at least 17 clichés in the span of 173 words. That is an impossible task; I must really be on my A game today, but then again statistics can be misleading.
All joking aside if you take a sober look at the standings things are not that bad.

In the NL West the Giants sit 5 games back of the San Diego Padres with 5 weeks to play in the season. They have 7 head to head matchups which is more then enough on its own to wipe out that lead. This is by no means an insurmountable lead.

If the Padres blow it wouldn't even break into a top 10 list of late season collapses. That is not to say it is likely or easy but it is not time to count them out. The chance of a division title is still alive in the 10-15% range.

Things are even closer and more realistic is the Wild Card race.

The Giants sit just a game and a half back from Philadelphia Phillies. There are no teams that need to be jumped between them and the lead, to use one more cliché they have the inside track of all the teams chasing the Phillies. Getting past the Phillies doesn't require a collapse at all just a stretch of good baseball.

August has been a difficult month for the Giants but the schedule for September and October is set up pretty good for a final run at the playoffs. There are 30 games left in the season and just about all of them should be meaningful.

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