Entering today, the Giants are 64-54, one-half game out of first place in the NL West and trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers. Losing Melky Cabrera, according to Dan Syzmborski, will most likely cost the Giants around one win in the standings. Friend of the blog, and fellow Giants fan, Wendy Thurm, recently posted a very thorough break-down on the Giants and what their options are in a post-Melky world.
In brief: it’s not exactly a pretty sight. The Giants will give Gregor Blanco first crack at filling Melky’s large shoes. As Wendy notes in her FanGraphs piece, Blanco started the year sizzling hot but has since cooled considerably. Even with Blanco struggling to keep up with his early season pace, he’s still posting career high in OPS+ (95 compared to carer of 88). So, while it would be nice to see Blanco get on a roll like he did earlier in the year, there’s a good chance that this is as good as it gets for Gregor. He’s a capable defender, and baserunner, but he’s unlikely to be an above average hitter.
The loss of Cabrera will tighten things up considerably in the West. The loss of a single win — per Syzmborksi — might not sound like a lot in the abstract, but in a tight divisional race, it could be the difference between going to the playoffs and going home.
The singular good news for the Giants is that the team has a pretty favorable schedule over the remainder of the season. Here’s what I did: I took all three contending teams in the NL West — D-Backs, Dodgers, and Giants — and graphed their total games left to play compared to how many games they’ll play against sub-.500 level teams, and how many games they’ll play at home.
Here’s what I came up with:
The Good News for the Giants is that among the three NL West teams vying for a playoff spot, the Giants play the most sub-.500 level teams over their remaining schedule (22 of their remaining 43 games). The Dodgers, on the other hand, face stiffer competition over the remainder of their season. However, when looking at games played at home, the Giants don’t fare as well; the Giants will play more of their games on the road than either of the two contending teams. The D-Backs play the most games at home at 25 out of their remaining 44; the Dodgers will play 23 games at home out of their remaining 42; and the Giants will play just 20 games at home out of their remaining 43. This could be a big deal because the Giants have played so well at home this year (.574 winning percentage). On the road, the Giants have a winning percentage of .509, which is behind the Dodgers (.525) but ahead of the D-Backs (.459).
Even though it’s not included in a graph, I can’t go without saying that the Giants and Dodgers will play nine games against each other before the year is finished. Six of those nine games will be played in L.A.. In fact, the Giants will finish their season with a three-game series in L.A.
I can’t help but think that’s going to be one huge series.