Giants move into 3rd place, er, make that 2nd place and 5.5 games back

That's the beauty of the last month of the season with the four main contenders for the NL West title playing each other: somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, and a team can make up a lot of ground fast if they can get hot now. And, wow, the Giants are finally make a move, led by Schmidt, Lowry, and, for now, Cain, plus the now great bullpen and our sporadic offense. And with 7 games left with the Padres, if they can go 5-2, they would be only 2.5 games back with all the other games left.

However, their path will not be easy. The Giants face LA 7 more times, Cubs 4 times (10-18 in August according to Dave Fleming from today's broadcast), SD 7 times, and 3 vs. Washington, Colorado, and Arizona. That is a little harder than the 'Dres 7 vs. Colorado, 6 vs. LA, 7 vs. SF, 3 vs. Washington and 3 vs. Arizona. The D-gers faces the Giants 7 more times, SD 6 times, 3 vs. Colorado, 6 vs. Arizona, and 4 vs. Pittsburgh. That is also a little easier than the Giants. Lastly, the D-backs play Pittsburgh 3 games, Colorado 6 games, Milwaukee 3 games, LA 6 games, SD 3 games, and SF 3 games. That is also a little easier than the Giants. So overall, it appears that the Giants have a harder schedule than the rest of the teams they are competing against, based on opponents to be played.

That means that the Giants will truly have to take matters into their own hands, like they did this weekend, and play well particularly against the rest of their NL West Division competitors if they hope to at least stay in 2nd and definitely if they hope to win the Division title still. In particularly, they have 1 more game to play than SD and LA and 3 more than AZ. It will be a tough road to travel to keep 2nd and perhaps win the division but I've seen weirder things happen, so you never know. But to reach .500, they need to go 18-7, which does not seem likely at the moment, though vaguely possible due to how well they have been pitching lately. They need a hitter or two to get white hot.

Boy, what a beautiful pair of games by Cain, including today's 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 4 K outing. For perspective, Tomko has NOT had a pair of games with a similar ERA (2.25) and WHIP (about 1) for any two pair of games all season, his best being his starts on May 9 and 14, where he had 15 IP, 12 hits, 5 ER, 2 W, 11 K, 3.00 ERA, about 1 WHIP. Cain for his short career has 12 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, 5 W, 6 K, 2.25 ERA and about 1 WHIP. So he has been a little wild, but he has mainly only depended upon his fastball, he has not shown his other pitches yet and STILL is pitching well. Imagine how good he would be if he started using his plus curve (from what I've read on him).


Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I posted this on another blog in response to a D-ger fan saying he hoped the Giants win the division and then get "whooped" in the playoffs (plus the author wondered whether to play Bonds or not and risk injury):

"The beauty of the NL West title chase - for a Giants fan hoping for a mini-miracle - is that with everyone playing everyone else, somebody is guaranteed to win and someone is guaranteed to lose, so there are definitely teams that will gain and teams that will lose, every day. So yes, there is a chance - still small, the Giants are a big 5.5 games back, but much larger than, say, a week ago - for the Giants to win the West if they can continue to stay hot.

I don't know that the Giants would get "whooped" in the first round - this Dodger fan obviously haven't been watching the Giants lately. With Schmidt and Lowry pitching extremely well lately, along with a aforementioned great bullpen, if they can continue it into the playoffs - something that seems likely - the Giants are up two games in a five game series. That would leave it up to Cain and probably Hennessey to win one of the next two to win the series or, if they lose both, return to Schmidt in game 5 to win the series.

And even if the Giants come out of Schmidt/Lowry with only 1 win, Cain has been very good so far and he's been doing it mainly just with his fastball, he should be that much tougher mixing in more of his curve ball, and Hennessey has been alternately hideous and dominating. Calling them a coin toss as to results, that brings us to 2-2 with Schmidt pitching in Game 5. I'll take those odds.

With Feliz not hitting well for two months, I think that the Giants will have to bring Bonds in once he is ready and medically cleared by his doctors. While it is nice that Linden has picked up some of that slack with some hot hitting of his own, he simply cannot compare with a (presumably) healthy Bonds.

That would make a possible lineup of Winn, Vizquel, Snow/Niekro, Bonds, Alou, Durham, Alfonzo, Matheny, (I would swamp 3 and 6 but I assume this is what Alou would do) which would be pretty good 1-6, adequate to OK 8th, with only a subpar 7th, unless Alfonzo can turn hot in the playoffs as he did in 2003, in which case the Giants would have a good lineup not just against LHP but also RHP.

But first, Bonds has to be activated off the DL and it has been so long that I'll believe it when I see it."

Oh, and to clarify my point about the Giants reaching .500, my assumption there is that the Padres play .500 ball the rest of the way (not a big stretch since they are at .500 now), which would force the Giants to have to catch up with them by reaching .500, which requires them going 18-7. Odds, again, not good but it wasn't good for them winning 7 of 8 either, so you never know.

Also, even if the Giants do get "whooped" in the first round, at least they get extra money for finishing first in the division. Again, probably not a large amount, but at least it is something extra to help the team.

Plus it sounds like Magowan might give Sabean extra budget next season in case Bonds is out again to get another power hitter. Given that the only position not taken is 1B, that would mean signing a free agent power hitting 1B. Not sure who will be a FA this offseason though.

Also, it could possibly be used on a FA starter as well, that will probably be a need for 2006 as Hennessey and Correia don't look like keepers yet, not like Lowry or (tentatively for now) Cain.

Mon Sep 05, 02:17:00 AM PDT  

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