The traditional 162-game MLB season is a grueling marathon, playing out over a seven-month stretch that requires travel all over the country.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has forced MLB to adopt an abbreviated 60-game season for 2020, reportedly beginning on July 23 with a showdown between the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, and limit travel to three geographic regions.
According to FanGraphs' win probability formula, this shortened season certainly will benefit the Giants' chances at making the 2020 MLB playoffs.
It makes sense on the surface. Playing over a hundred fewer games allows for exponentially more variance for how the final standings will look at the end of September, helping teams that feature a below-average collection of talent.
However, if you took the 60 Giants games last season from today's date (July 5) to Sept. 12, San Francisco went 31-29 over that span. Over the same stretch, the Colorado Rockies went 18-42, the San Diego Padres went 25-35, the Los Angeles Dodgers went 36-24 and the Arizona Diamondbacks went 32-28. The Rockies finished just ahead of the Padres in the overall standings and Arizona had a much wider margin over the Giants for second place, but those were the only differences over the full 162-game sample size.
Also, FanGraphs has the Giants at just a 4.3 percent chance of earning a postseason berth as of July 5, so the odds remain pretty unfavorable. Just four teams (Marlins, Tigers, Mariners, Orioles) have a lower probability of making the 2020 playoffs.
Nevertheless, Giants fan can take solace in what many expect to be a wide-open season in MLB. If Gabe Kapler's group can get hot at the right time, they could sneak right in and snatch a berth in the postseason.
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