The Giants will play for their playoff lives in their final homestand of this shortened MLB season this week.
Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction, and a 60-game campaign that began after July 4 and will end with the World Series, awarded at a neutral venue and as the culmination of an expanded playoff format, certainly fits that bill. So does seeing San Francisco in a playoff chase during what many -- including manager Gabe Kapler and the Giants' front office -- expected to be a development year.
Then again, maybe we should've seen this coming.
"It's also an even year," Giants backup catcher Chadwick Tromp reminded reporters on a postgame video conference Sunday after going 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI in a 14-2 win over the A's at the Oakland Coliseum.
"I mean, come on now."
Thanks to Sunday's win, the Giants improved to .500 (26-26) and kept pace with the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers in the race for the NL's eighth and final playoff spot. Cincinnati holds the tiebreaker over Milwaukee and San Francisco with a better divisional record.
The Giants didn't lose any ground ahead of an eight-game homestand over the next seven days at Oracle Park, relying on an offensive output Sunday that their World Series-winning predecessors could've dreamed of last decade.
San Francisco's 14 runs were its second-most in a game this season, as were the 15 hits. The Giants ended Sunday's game with the seventh-most hits (455) and the 10th-most runs (251) in MLB this season. They also rank no worse than 10th in batting average (.264; fourth), on-base percentage (.331; 10th) and slugging percentage (.445) eighth.
"I think the offense is probably something that stands out right away," shortstop Brandon Crawford said, when asked how the 2020 Giants are different from previous teams that didn't make the playoffs. "Not that we didn't have good offenses in the past or in years that we won, but I think in a way that's kind of been our strength this year, which I don't know if I could say in some other years here. We were a pretty complete team in those years that we won, but I don't think it was the offense necessarily that ever carried us. You can probably make the case for that this year."
Crawford went 2-for-5 with a double and a grand slam against the A's on Sunday, improving his batting average to .283 on the season. The shortstop entered the season in a platoon after batting just .228 in 2019, but he has played his way back into his familiar, everyday role.
You can add the former All-Star's resurgence to the Giants' long list of 2020 surprises. Chief among them, however, has to be that San Francisco largely controls its playoff destiny ahead of a pair of four-game series with the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres at Oracle Park.
Not that Tromp and the Giants would have it any other way.
"It's very fun," Tromp said of being in his first big league playoff race. "It's the thing that you look forward to the most, whenever you're playing baseball, is you try to win. And you want to win every game, and now that it's happening, it's awesome. If you don't feel like your adrenaline's going -- you gotta feel it. I'm feeling it right now, and the whole team's feeling it and we're riding it. [We] believe in each other, (that) we'll make it."