The La Russa Heartbreakometer
|Angel Pagan - CF||A.J. Pollock - CF|
|Kelby Tomlinson - 2B||Ender Inciarte - RF|
|Matt Duffy - 3B||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Buster Posey - 1B||David Peralta - LF|
|Marlon Byrd - RF||Welington Castillo - C|
|Brandon Belt - LF||Jake Lamb - 3B|
|Brandon Crawford - SS||Phil Gosselin - 2B|
|Jackson Williams - C||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Mike Leake - RHP||Patrick Corbin - LHP|
Way back at the beginning of the season, when we were playing the Giants for the first time, I pointed out how few teams came back from such a bad start as the Giants had, and reached the playoffs. I was mocked for this in some quarters: they were the reigning World Series champions, and we weren't even two weeks into the season. But with less than a month left, while it's still too early to say, "told you so".... Well, I told you so. The Giants come into this series 7.5 back of the Dodgers and even further behind the Cubs for the second wild-card, having done no better in Colorado than we did, splitting a four-game series against the Rockies. Hope is ebbing.
Which is fine by me: if we win the series here, it could well be the final nail in the coffin for San Francisco, considering they will only have 22 games left when they leave Arizona. It's becoming a bit of a trend: if the Giants don't make it, this will be the fourth time in five that the reigning World Series champions have failed to make the post-season the following year. Of course, three of those belong to SF; the Red Sox didn't return in 2014 either, after winning it all the year before. It's also becoming harder to reach the World Series again. Since our win in 2001, the only consecutive appearances are the Rangers (2010-11) and Phillies (2008-09).
Quite why that is so, I'm not sure. Expanded post-season probably plays into it, because they're always a crap-shoot: to win your way once through the system is easier than doubling up and doing it twice. Plus, there's the general level of balance, with fewer "outstanding" teams. We've only had one team win more than 98 games in the past five years (the 2011 Phillies), though the Cardinals seems likely to, having 87 wins with 26 left to play. When teams are closer in quality, the chances of a playoff upset increases, as we saw last year, where the World Series was played between two wild-card teams. I wouldn't bet against a Pirates-Yankees series quite yet.