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 FanGraphs.com, 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.