The Giants have hit the halfway mark of this 60-game MLB season, and couldn't be happier with the expanded playoff rules.
This season, the top two teams from each division -- NL West, NL Central and NL East -- automatically make the playoffs. The best two teams after those six also make the eight-team postseason in the NL. The same goes for AL teams.
With a 14-16 record, the Giants entered Monday tied for the seventh playoff spot in the NL. For the second straight year, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and general manager Scott Harris face a tough decision. Should they be buyers or sellers at the Aug. 31 MLB trade deadline?
One rival NL executive told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal "the Giants are indeed good enough to qualify for the expanded postseason." So, how good are their chances?
Just a week ago, the Giants were 8-16, good for the second-worst record in the NL. But everything can change so quickly in this shortened season. They've won six straight games after taking three of four against the Los Angeles Angels and then swept the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both of those teams are in last place of their division.
Starting Tuesday, the Giants play three big games against the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers, but then have a long string against teams that should be winnable games on paper. Following the Giants' Dodgers series, this is how their next 11 games look: Three vs. the D-backs, two vs. the Colorado Rockies, four vs. the D-backs and two vs. the Seattle Mariners.
In September, the Giants face the D-backs four times, the Rockies six times and the Mariners four times. The final month also features the first-place A's three times and the second-place San Diego Padres seven times. Those Padres games could be huge.
The Giants' remaining schedule really isn't that scary. This team now has another threat in the lineup with Joey Bart, a NL MVP candidate in Mike Yastrzemski, the starting rotation has looked really strong ... and then there's the bullpen. On any given night, that part of the roster is anyone's best guess, and that includes manager Gabe Kapler.
Zaidi and Harris will have tough decisions to make with one-year contracts like Kevin Gausman, and even bigger names like Johnny Cueto. In this random season full of streaks, though, the players aren't out of the picture.