A day after the San Francisco Giants got spanked by the Washington Nationals 9-2, the Giants look to recover as their rotation starts at the top again with Madison Bumgarner. Big picture, the Giants still lead the National League West by 8.5 games after the Dodgers beat the Reds in Cincinnati last night and continue to own the best record in the Majors. Of late, the Giants have feasted on the likes of the Twins, Cubs, Mets, Reds, and even took three out of four from the Cardinals, going a smooth 13-3 in that span. No wonder everything has felt so good lately. Plus, Brandon Belt and Santiago Casilla could be beginning a rehab assignment as early as Wednesday in San Jose, which looks to help the roster in a time when there is little panic over the spots they left vacant. According to the Postseason Probabilities page powered by Baseball Prospectus, the Giants are also looking good to make the playoffs, even if there are ninety-eight games left to play.
To me, it is amazing that the Dodgers, despite being 8.5 games back of the Giants, still have an 81.5% chance to play in the postseason, being only three games above .500. However, 60% of that probably comes from them making it as a Wild Card team, while 78% of the Giants postseason probability comes from winning the NL West. Colorado has tanked to single digits and being 12.5 back, as San Diego and Arizona also continue to dwell in the cellar. As it stands right now, there are six teams that hold a 50% or greater chance to make the playoffs, and as you see from the (probably blurry) screen shot, they are:
San Francisco (42-22) — 97.5%
Los Angeles (34-31) — 81.4%
Washington (33-29) — 76%
Milwaukee (38-26) — 68.6%
St. Louis (33-31) — 65.4%
Atlanta (33-29) — 55.2%
Everybody else has less than a 16% chance of making the playoffs. There is little love for the Miami Marlins (33-30), 0.5 games back of the Braves and Nationals, 10.5% of making the postseason. If you’re looking ahead to when the Giants play these teams that could be contending, these would be the number of games left against the teams and the dates:
Los Angeles (9) — July 25th-27th, September 12th-14th, 22nd-24th
Washington (5) — Yesterday through tomorrow, August 22nd-24th,
Milwaukee (6) — August 5th-7th, 29th-31st
St. Louis (3) — July 1st-3rd
Miami (3) — July 18th-20th
Total that up, and that’s twenty-six of the remaining eighty-four games (31.0%) against NL teams that are looking like they have a reasonable shot to make the postseason (they have fourteen interleague games against the likes of Oakland, Kansas City, ChiSox, and Detroit). That is indeed favorable scheduling for the Giants, and if they keep winning the series that they should be winning, they’ll be looking good for a place in the October limelight.
As with the National League, the top two probabilities in the American League belong to two Western division teams: the A’s (39-25, 93.6%) and the Angels (35-28, 82.1%). Can you imagine four California teams being in the playoffs, and what about if there were an A’s-Angels, Dodgers-Giants NLDS? California would be buzzing.