Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Remaining Schedule

Will they be this happy at the end of the year?

Obviously the Giants are not playing too well right now. After going 20-8 in July, they've struggled in August and it is extremely possible that the Giants' hot streak in July was kind of a fluke. They played no first place teams during the entire month, and August has immediately proven to be much tougher. They have already lost series' against Atlanta and San Diego, two first place teams, and still have games against Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. August will definitely be a challenge and I thought we'd take a look at the Giants' remaining schedule and how well they need to play to make it to the postseason.

First we'll take a look at how the Giants have to fare in order to win the division. Their remaining opponents have a combined .510 winning percentage. Right now the Giants sit at 67-53* and the Padres are 71-47*. Looking at the Padres schedule, their remaining opponents have a combined .506 winning percentage, so their strength of schedules are basically equal. So if we assume the Padres play .500 baseball over their last 44 games, which is pretty wishful thinking, they will end the season at 93-69. When you consider that the Padres haven't slowed down all year and probably will play better than .500 ball for the rest of the season, the Giants are probably going to have to win 93-97 games to win the division. That would mean in their last 42 games they'd need to win 26-30 games. Not impossible at all, but they'd need a couple of July type months in order to pass the Padres.

A more realistic shot at the playoffs may come by winning the Wild Card. Right now the Phillies have 2 game lead over the Giants in the Wild Card race with a 67-51* record and St. Louis is just a half game back of us. Philadelphia has a relatively easy schedule from here on out, as the only first or second place teams they will play are Atlanta and San Diego. If we assume they play .500 baseball the rest of the way, again unlikely considering their strength of schedule and the fact that Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have been injured, they would finish the season at 89-73. St. Louis also has a pretty easy schedule to end the season, playing just 3 teams (Atlanta, Cincinnati, and San Diego) that are in 1st or 2nd place. Assuming St. Louis goes .500 to end the season, they would be 87-75.

So, it looks like the Giants are going to have to win 90-95 games to get into the playoffs. That means they have to play slightly better than .500 for the remainder of the season, which may be a lot to ask for from a team that's struggling right now. They are capable of playing that well, but the Giants need to be the team they were in July and not the team they've been so far in August. They need to show that they can beat good teams. In July they feasted on bad teams, but on the year they are 31-42 against teams that are over .500. Every other NL contender has a winning record against winning teams. That needs to change, and the remaining schedule should be a good test of whether or not they are a true contender.

*All records are as of this morning.


  1. I think you may have answered your own question about the Giants and their playoff chances. In order to make it they are going to have to buck a trend of playing poorly against good teams while at the same time hoping that the teams they are chasing buck a trend of playing solid baseball. Baseball is rarely a game of statistical anomolies, and this is no different. What we are seeing now is a team that is completely outmatched by real playoff contenders. The Giants on the other hand are showing themselves to be playoff pretenders. Looks like Aubrey Huff will have to wait another year.

  2. Yes, that was pretty much the conclusion I came to. It's going to be really difficult. But the Giants are also capable of going on a streak at any moment, they've always been that kind of team. Right now the offense is struggling, which isn't all that unusual, but the pitching is also struggling, which is very unusual. If the pitching were a little better we maybe could've won 2-3 more games during this rough patch. So if the pitching can get back to being dominant and just a couple of guys on offense can step up, this team can go on a run.