A deep look at what it would take for the Giants to make the playoffs

A deep look at what it would take for the Giants to make the playoffs

SAN FRANCISCO — As he packed up at Chase Field a week ago, Bruce Bochy was asked about the odd end-of-season schedule. The Giants still will visit Cincinnati, New York, Milwaukee and St. Louis, but they’re done with their trips to Phoenix. 

Bochy noted that, given his team’s situation, he would rather see teams in the division. That’s the easiest way to make up ground, and the Giants will get another opportunity over the next three days with a series at Dodger Stadium. Logic and history say this season is pretty much already over. The Giants, who won 4-3 on Sunday, would like you to hold on a bit longer. 

“No one has gotten really hot in our division. We’re beating up on each other,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I thought that would be the case. I think it’s going to be real tight, I do. We’re all balanced in our own way and have strengths and weaknesses and have dealt with injuries. I think it’s going to go down to the wire.”

The Giants remain six back of the Diamondbacks, who won Sunday. They are five back of the Dodgers, who got walked off for a second straight game. Complicating matters: The Giants are also 4 1/2 games behind the Rockies. They’ll need three teams ahead of them to go in the tank.

It helps to control your own destiny, and the Giants will for three days. If they can put a dent in the Dodgers, they get three with the Reds, four with the Mets and three with the Rangers. That is a soft landing spot, but realistically, this team needs to come pretty close to running the table over a 10-game road trip. 

The numbers, both basic and advanced, tell the same story. According to, the Giants entered play Sunday with a 0.4 chance of winning the division and 1.0 percent chance of winning a Wild Card spot. FanGraphs has put four NL clubs at zero percent already — including the Reds and Mets — and the Giants are in position to be the next to get there. No other team took the field Sunday between 0 and 14 percent.

There’s a more traditional way to look at this, too. The NL West champ has won at least 91 games in each of the last five seasons. It has taken at least 87 wins to sneak into the Wild Card Game over that span, with the Giants getting in at 88 in 2014 and 87 in 2016. So let’s say that’s realistically the best case scenario, a road game as the second Wild Card. The Giants are 59-60 and still would need to go 28-15 to get to 87 wins. At no point this season have they been more than five games over .500.

It’s tough sledding, but Dereck Rodriguez and an opportunistic lineup brought excitement to AT&T Park on Sunday, capping a rough homestand. Rodriguez is a certified Rookie of the Year candidate, which will be worth rooting for down the stretch. If the rest of the Giants can’t find some way to dominate this road trip, though, that’ll be just about all that’s left to monitor.

Former Giant Adam Duvall still hitting for power in new home


Former Giant Adam Duvall still hitting for power in new home

ATLANTA -- It has slowed over time, but for a couple of years, Adam Duvall was The One Who Got Away for much of the Giants fan base.

An organization that has had decades of trouble developing homegrown outfielders traded Duvall to the Reds and watched him hit 64 homers in 2016-17 and make an All-Star team. Duvall was far from Oracle Park, but as he broke through in Cincinnati, he was aware that fans grumbled about the deal.

"I have extended family (in the Bay Area) and they would talk about it," he said Friday. "I got an opportunity with the Reds to get a lot of playing time. For being a young guy, that was good for me to get some playing time and show what I could do."

The mistake the Giants made wasn't necessarily underestimating the power -- Duvall had always hit homers in the minors, including 30 in a season with High-A San Jose. The Giants simply didn't think he could handle left field, and with Matt Duffy at third, they included Duvall in a 2015 deadline trade for Mike Leake. They wanted more consistent starting pitching. It didn't work out that way. 

Duvall's run in Cincinnati ended last year, when the home run power wasn't enough to make up for a .205 average and .286 OBP. But he has found a role with the Braves, starting 23 games in the outfield and posting a .863 OPS. His homer against his old team on Saturday night was his ninth in 103 at-bats for the NL East champs.

The Braves clinched Friday night against some players Duvall considered mentors. Before Friday's game, Duvall said he's grateful for the work the Giants did in getting him ready for the big leagues. He pointed to Buster Posey and Ryan Vogelsong -- who is coaching with the Giants this weekend -- as two former teammates who were particularly helpful. 

"That was a big, big part of my career when I first got introduced to playing in the big leagues," Duvall said. "They were a very professional group."

Johnny Cueto frustrated by wild performance in Giants' loss to Braves


Johnny Cueto frustrated by wild performance in Giants' loss to Braves

ATLANTA -- Every part of Johnny Cueto's rehab from Tommy John surgery went according to plan. The first surprise came Saturday. 

Cueto walked five Braves in the Giants' 8-1 loss. For just the second time in his career, he walked at least five and failed to throw more than four innings. 

"I was a little surprised, to be honest," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's been so good to this point."

Cueto also used the word "surprised" in discussing the loss. 

"I felt frustrated," he said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. "I felt really good and felt strong, but on occasion, I felt frustrated because every time I would throw the ball it tailed toward first base."

A little rust is not unusual after a year of rehab, but Cueto had thrown 10 shutout innings in his first two starts and had no issues with command. The Braves got him for four in the second inning, with three walks being issued. All three of those runners scored. 

"Johnny -- rarely, rarely does he beat himself," Bochy said. "It's fair to say he did that tonight."

This wasn't all on Cueto's loss of command. Not even close.

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The Giants were 0-for-SunTrust Park before scratching a lone run across in the seventh inning. They've looked completely overmatched in two games against the NL's second-best team, and they'll need to win out just to finish at .500. The odds are overwhelmingly strong that they end up with a third straight losing season. That can become official as soon as Sunday. 

"We were hoping for a winning season," Bochy said. "We were so close there, and I know we stumbled."