Despite the pain of a four-game sweep at Wrigley, Giants fans are still engaged, hopeful, perhaps even confident. Among the many reasons why, four jump out.
1. They looked even more hapless/lifeless at several points last summer. Most notably: a three-game series exactly a year ago in Kansas City, where they got swept. And whaddya know, they won the World Series last year. Baseball is weird.
2. What else are Giants fans going to do — switch their focus to either Bay Area professional football team? The Raiders are still the Raiders until proven otherwise (they’re also trying to move to L.A.), and the 49ers lose a key player every month.
3. Members of the local media, save for a radio talk show host or two, aren’t freaking out. For instance, Ann Killion wrote a column titled “Giants slumping, but still in good position” yesterday.
4. Much of Killion’s column focuses on the Dodgers, who have also lost four in a row. Their latest bullpen acquisition, Jim Johnson, gave up eight earned runs in 2/3 of an inning on Sunday night, and last night L.A. lost 8-3 to the Nationals in a game where Brett Anderson gave up seven earned over five innings. The Dodgers are only 2.5 games up on the Giants, two in the loss column.
That brings us to Fangraphs, a baseball nerd’s dream site filled with advanced metrics, WAR figures that are slightly different than the ones found on other sides, and projections, projections, projections. Player projections are all the rage before the season, but at this point we feel like we know what we’re getting with individual numbers. Matt Duffy is probably going to be a lot more productive than anyone would’ve guessed. Pablo Sandoval is going to finish this season as a much less valuable player than the Red Sox, and all of the projections systems, figured.
Now it’s about teams, and Fangraphs has a handy little tool that shows us where everyone will finish in the standings.
Current NL Standings
- Central — Cardinals: 71-40 (.640)
- West — Dodgers: 62-50 (.554)
- East — Mets: 60-52 (.536)
- Pirates: 65-44 (.596)
- Cubs: 62-48 (.564)
- Giants: 59-52 (.532)
- Nationals: 58-53 (.523)
Fangraphs Projected Final Standings
- Central — Cardinals: 98-64 (.606)
- West — Dodgers: 91-71 (.564)
- East — Nationals: 87-75 (.537)
- Pirates: 94-68 (.580)
- Cubs: 90-72 (.554)
- Giants: 86-76 (.531)
- Mets: 86-76 (.530)*
*I’m not exactly sure why the Mets are listed with a slightly lower final winning percentage than the Giants. My best guess: Fangraphs projects they’ll finish with a higher run differential and have a better chance of finishing with 87 wins than the Mets.
The Dodgers haven’t looked all that impressive lately, but Fangraphs projects them to go 29-21 in their remaining games. This is obviously due to strength of schedule, as the Dodgers play 29 of their final 50 games against teams that are below .500.
We all know what the Giants (who Fangraphs thinks will go 27-24 the rest of the way) face — their next 22 games are against winning teams, 18 of those are against teams with 60+ wins, and the other four are against the Nats. September is much easier, so they only end up playing 26 of their final 51 games against over-.500 teams, but the Dodgers’ remaining schedule is still much easier.
Here’s the bad news … the Dodgers absolutely crush bad teams. They’re 46-22 against below-.500 teams, while the Giants aren’t quite as good at stomping out the bad teams — they’re 42-33.
Here’s the good news … the Dodgers stink against good teams. They’re 16-28 against over-.500 teams, while the Giants are a more respectable 17-19. That’s in large part because the Giants are 9-3 against the Dodgers this season.
In my mind it’s been a race to 90 wins all along. The Dodgers are a very lopsided team, with two amazing starters and a weak bullpen. We know the Giants’ shortcomings. The NL West just isn’t a great division this year, especially compared with the NL Central, and I don’t see the Dodgers finishing with 91 wins.
As we all know, my opinion matters about as much as Fangraphs’ projections. All of us are just guessing, and the Giants just have to stay within striking distance so their four-game series against the Dodgers at AT&T (9/28 – 10/1) means something. So yeah, I mostly wrote this so people would click the “Favorite” button on Twitter in hopes of someday being able to point a biased, vengeful finger at Fangraphs and their nerdy projection system at the end of the year if the Giants come back and win the West.
Who wants autographed stuff?
Someone who doesn’t care a lick about projections is three-time champion Bruce Bochy, and this is where I remind you to carve out some time on Wednesday afternoon/evening to visit Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria in San Francisco.
After Wednesday’s game against the Astros (first pitch: 12:45 pm), Bruce and Kim Bochy will head to the Amici’s on King Street (across the street from the park). Amici’s will donate 100% of the proceeds — all sales from 3-10 pm — from both SF locations to the Homeless Prenatal Program.
The Bochys will end their evening at Amici’s on Lombard Street. If you’re planning on heading to either location on Wednesday for a chance to see and talk to Bruce (this is my third year as a part of this event, so I know for a fact that he’s great with kids), I would probably hang out at Amici’s on King from 4-6 pm and Amici’s on Lombard from 6-10 pm.
Besides ordering food and drinks from Amici’s that will benefit SF HPP, you can also donate by purchasing raffle tickets. Besides several different sets of tickets and wine/food prizes, you can win one of many collector’s items — many provided by Bruce himself.
- Special edition All-Star baseball – autographed by the entire National League All-Star team
- All-Star T-shirt – autographed by all SF Giants players & coaches from the 2015 All-Star Game (pictured)
- 2015 SF Giants autographed team ball
- Signed Madison Bumgarner All-Star Jersey
- Bruce Bochy’s personal 4 seats for 9/30 Giants v. Dodgers game
- Baseball autographed by Bruce Bochy & 4 Giants 2015 NL All-Star Players
- 2 Lexus Club Seats for 9/12 Giants v. Padres game
- 4 tickets down by home plate + parking pass for Sun 9/20 1pm Giants game
- Signed Matt Cain Baseball
- Hunter Pence autographed bat
- Hunter Strickland autographed picture & ball
- Chris Heston autographed bat
- Javier Lopez autographed jersey
- Willie McCovey autographed hat
- Hunter Pence autographed ball
- Jake Peavy autographed ball
- Special edition SF Giants Skullcandy Headphones
- Signed Pete Rose Baseball w/ certificate of authenticity