(Apologies for the recent downtime. Sometimes Real Life ™ has a habit of sucking up all your time.)
The Giants currently sit just 1 game out of first place in the National League West. Today the team will wrap up it’s 4 game series against the Padres, and if they can win, will be tied for 1st place in the NL West. Since the Giants’ best path to the playoffs is winning their division, let’s take a look at the remaining schedules of both the Giants and Padres.
San Francisco Giants -------------------------------------- Opponent Winning% Record Against Dodgers (3) 0.497 8-7 Brewers (3) 0.461 4-0 @Cubs (3) 0.437 3-1 @Rockies (3) 0.549 7-8 D-Backs (3) 0.401 10-5 Padres (3) 0.567 4-10 San Diego Padres -------------------------------------- Opponent Winning% Record Against @Rockies (3) 0.549 4-11 @Cardinals (3) 0.521 2-1 @Dodgers (3) 0.497 8-7 Reds (3) 0.570 2-1 Cubs (4) 0.437 4-0 @Giants (3) 0.559 10-4
The Giants will play 2 series against teams — including the Padres — with a .500 record or better to end the year. Meanwhile, the Padres will play against 4 teams with a record of .500 or better. The other bit of good news for the Giants is that they’ll mostly play at home where they’ve gone 42 and 27 this season. Of the remaining 6 series left, the Giants will play 4 of them at home, including what could be a very important season finale against the Padres. In comparison the Padres will hit the road, playing 4 of their last 6 series away from Petco Park. The Padres do get a good bit of luck in that they’ll play Chicago for 4 games instead of just 3 like the Giants. The Padres have been terrible against the Rockies this year (4 wins, 11 loses) and the Giants have been bad against the Padres (4 wins, 10 loses).
I haven’t talked about the Rockies, but they’ve been on fire recently, winning 9 in a row since September 3. If they sweep the Padres in their upcoming series, they could easily move up in the NL West standings.
As the team works it’s way through September, everything looks pretty much set. I will say, however, that I really, really wish that Bruce Bochy would scale back his use of Jose Guillen. Since being acquired, Guillen has started 22 games out of 24 in right field. Over that period of time, Guillen is hitting .295/.337/.385. The batting average is nice, I guess, but Guillen hasn’t shown any kind of power — hitting just 5 extra-base hits in a hair under 80 at-bats — and his range in the outfield is embarrassingly bad. At this point, Cody Ross or Nate Schierholtz can replicate what Guillen gives you at the plate with the addition of above-average defense. Guillen is a nice pinch-hitting option, but as a starter with defensive problems he’s stretched. It’s a typical managerial pattern from Bruce Bochy.
The Giants are still a pitching first team and I think you’ve got to go with the best defensive alignment when you can. You can live with Pat Burrell in LF as long as he’s hitting (and he has been since he put on a Giants uniform) but when you start to trade off defense for Guillen’s offense — what little he provides — you’re making a dangerous deal.