It is always better to be good AND lucky. And 90 games through the MLB marathon the Giants are both. Amazing pitching by Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. Solid seasons by Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford. Nice pickups in Jeff Samardjzia and Denard Span. They put up baseball’s best record despite a swath of injuries and blown leads late by the normally reliable bullpen. But they were also incredibly fortunate to have played the easiest schedule in baseball to this point. That won’t be the case in the “second half” of the season. Fortunately, the Giants will get another boost of good mojo in that so many teams are down in the National League this year that the sales season before the trade deadline will make the bottom feeders even weaker and the Giants have the checkbook to add to the roster anything missing for another run at a ring.
The next few months are all about ONE thing. Have home field in the NL playoffs. The Giants, Cubs and Nationals are your division winners. That shouldn’t change. The Dodgers, Pirates, Cardinals, Mets and Marlins are fighting for two playoff spots. Best record means you play the Wild Card winner. That is much better than seeing the Nationals or Cubs in a five-game series. And you definitely want home field as you advance. Bumgarner and Cueto for the first two games at AT&T Park in a playoff series? Game over.
Now the first 90 games were perfect for the Giants to withstand some bumps, bruises and bullpen blowups. The Giants were 40-19 vs. losing teams and only 17-14 vs. winning teams. To have played 59 games versus the dregs of baseball was a gift from the baseball Gods. To have only 31 “tough” games out of 90 is even more incredible. Thank you NL West (9-0 vs. Padres, 9-5 vs. Arizona, 7-6 vs. Colorado).
But the stretch run turns the schedule on its head. The Giants play 42 games against good teams. Dodgers 9, Washington 7, Cubs 4, Mets 4, St. Louis 4, Pittsburgh 3, Miami 3, Baltimore 3, Boston 2 and I’ll still count the Yankees 3 on the road in this group. 42 out of 72 games. Getting healthy could not come at a better time.
Only 30 games left against the scrubs for the Giants. San Diego 10, Colorado 6, Arizona 5, Atlanta 3, Cincinnati 3, Philly 3, Atlanta 3. The Giants need to keep crushing these teams to hold off Washington and Chicago. And the 11 head to head meetings against those two teams will be critical.
So if we take the already accomplished winning percentage from the first 90 games and apply it to the remaining schedule we can get an idea of the Giants final record. The Giants should go 23-19 against the good teams. And 20-10 against the cellar dwellers. 43 and 29 to finish.
That’s a nice round number 100-62. Far and away better than any of the Giants’ previous World Series years in terms of regular season record. But this appears to be the best Giants team in recent memory. 100 wins give them home field throughout the playoffs up until the World Series, critical to the title run. Let the second half begin.