The National League wild-card race has seen two teams likely eliminate themselves lately, with both the Marlins and Pirates struggling mightily. In fact, they are both under .500 right now and it’s getting safe to say that the game will involve two of the Cardinals, Mets and whoever doesn’t win the NL West.
On the latter point, the Giants still have time to salvage this thing, but they probably shouldn’t wait much longer to get themselves right.
We’ve noted it before, but it has continued: The Giants had the best record in baseball at the All-Star break and have the worst since.
Yes, still. The Twins are 19-32 since the break, but the Giants are 17-31. That’s not a ridiculously small sample and the Giants have been worse than the likes of the Twins, Braves, Padres et al. Just a miserable second half.
And yet, here they sit, in playoff position.
NL Wild Card Standings
So the Giants have a cushion, but it’s an awfully thin one. The red-hot Mets are only 1 1/2 games behind them to keep them out.
Everyone who follows baseball even remotely closely is familiar with the “even year” Giants magic, given that they won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. In the case of the latter, that team proved you only need to get into the wild-card game in order to win the World Series. The Giants had to play that game on the road and ended up World Series champs. So if they get back to the playoffs via a similar route this season, they’ll surely be confident they can do it again.
But doesn’t there just seem to be something missing with this group? I look ahead at the schedule and find myself wondering when they’ll be completely done in, and the stretch from Sept. 15 through Sept. 21 where they play the Cardinals four times and the Dodgers three times sticks out.
Sure, they can piece it back together at some point. I wouldn’t be surprised at all. It’s just that it’s difficult to have confidence in a team that has been worse than the Twins since the All-Star break. So if you asked me right now what I think will happen, my guess would be that we’ll witness a Cardinals-Mets wild-card game.
|The Cubs as a franchise haven’t seen a 100-win season since 1935. They could go 11-13 the rest of the way and end up with 100 wins.||—||89-49|
|At 30-9, the Rangers own the best record in baseball history in one-run games.||—||83-56|
|Since coming over in a trade, Andrew Miller has 24 strikeouts against only one walk in 16 innings.||—||79-58|
|If Anthony Rendon hits three more home runs, the Nationals will tie the NL record with six players having at least 20 home runs (the 1965 Braves and 2003 Braves). In fact, if Rendon gets there and Ryan Zimmerman can manage six more, that’ll be seven players and a new NL record.||1||81-57|
|When Clayton Kershaw was initially injured, the Dodgers faced an eight-game deficit in the NL West. When he returns, they’ll be in first place. Baseball is fun.||1||78-60|
|Here’s a baseball is fun tidbit: The Red Sox combined for 27 runs on Friday and Saturday, but followed that up with just one run total on Sunday and Monday.||2||77-61|
|Edwin Encarnacion has already set a career high with 112 RBI.||3||77-61|
|Kevin Gausman’s last three outings? 19 innings, 19 strikeouts, zero earned runs.||1||76-62|
|It’s an incredibly crowded AL wild card race, but the Astros will not go quietly. They’ve now won 13 of their last 17.||1||74-64|
|Francisco Rodriguez needs one more save for his sixth 40-plus save season of his career. Only Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman (each with nine) have more.||1||75-63|
|Now that the Marlins have fallen below the threshold, the Mets only have three games remaining against teams above .500.||2||73-66|
|Jedd Gyorko leads the NL with 19 home runs since the All-Star break. That’s quite an upset, no?||—||73-64|
|Carlos Beltran is no longer on the team. Of the remaining players, guess who will likely end up leading the current Yankees in home runs? It could be either Starlin Castro (19) or Didi Gregorius (17). Sure, it could be Brian McCann, who also has 17, but this is pretty fun from the “who saw that one coming?” files.||1||72-65|
|Has the magic well run dry? The Royals just lost four of their last five on a homestand.||5||72-66|
|Maybe the turn-around starts with Tuesday night’s win? They tied it in the eighth and won it in the ninth. It’s got the feel of one of those where in the locker room they are saying, “it’s a start.”||1||74-64|
|That’s losses in 11 of their last 14. We’re probably safe to call that a choke job. They would be lower, but two (former) contenders have out-choked them.||1||70-68|
|Getting swept by the Brewers is not what legit contenders do in September. These Pirates have lost eight in a row.||2||67-69|
|Three relievers have reached 100 strikeouts so far this season. Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller were probably good bets heading into the season and they are two of the three. The third? Marlins reliever Kyle Barraclough. That’s a lot more fun than talking about their 10 losses in the last 11 games.||—||68-71|
|Rookie starting pitcher Tyler Anderson continues to impress, lowering his ERA to 3.35 after another great outing on Tuesday.||—||66-72|
|Since I said something negative about Jose Abreu last week, he’s gone 14 for 34 (.412) with five homers and 14 RBI in seven games. I love me some Reverse Jinx action.||—||66-72|
|Before Mike Trout, the Angels only had one 30-30 season in franchise history (Bobby Bonds, 1977). Trout’s likely to get there this year for the second time.||2||62-76|
|Well how do you like this? The Brewers have won five of six against the Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs.||6||61-77|
|Ah, yes, fire the hitting coach. That’ll solve everything!||2||58-79|
|If you let Ricky Nolasco take a perfect game into the sixth inning against you, there should be some sort of penalty. Since the A’s came back to win, we can let it slide, though.||2||59-79|
|In a lost season, it has to be nice to see A.J. Pollock back and doing his thing. Well, for the few D-Backs fans still paying attention.||1||58-80|
|Adam Duvall had only eight homers in his career entering the season. He has 30 this year. Yes, the low total was due to lack of opportunity as much as anything, but it’s still a fun story for the now-28 year old.||1||57-80|
|Sweep the Padres and Phillies back to back? Yes, you get to move up.||2||54-85|
|What if the Phillies finished in third place? Believe it or not, they are 5 1/2 games behind the falling-apart Marlins.||4||62-76|
|They could really use a strong close to the season by Derek Norris, so his trade value goes up before the offseason. Austin Hedges, a 24-year-old catcher, hit .326/.353/.597 with 20 doubles and 21 homers in 334 plate appearances in Triple-A this year. Then again, maybe Norris has already been so bad that they should just cut their losses and non-tender him.||4||57-81|
|Brian Dozier has 25 home runs in 51 games since the All-Star break. How ridiculous is that? There are only 42 players in the majors with 25 home runs all season.||—||51-88|
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / MLB Power Rankings: Can the Giants right the ship in time?