Yes, this article is really that straightforward.
I had a lot of articles I thought I would write this season. “A complete list of potential outcomes that would result in the Giants winning the NL West” was one of them. It was a draft I head ready for late March, but got delayed until early April.
Then I started, stopped, and never started again as May, June, July, and August came and went, each simultaneously shorter and longer than the month prior.
And now here we are.
The San Francisco Giants spent their Thursday with a lovely day off, their first since Aug. 23, when I was still in high school.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, however, did not have their Thursday off, though they still had an off day, if you catch my drift. They lost, is what I’m saying. They lost in glorious, beautiful, perfect fashion, which is to say they lost. I have no idea how it happened or what the score was, I just know they lost, which makes it glorious, beautiful, perfect fashion.
And with that, the Giants saw their lead in the NL West increase to 2.5 games, all while they played poker a few miles above the sky en route to Chicago.
Life is good.
And thanks to the lovely disparity between their records, the Giants are now the favorites to win the NL West, per Fangraphs.
So how will they get there? Before the season the answer was, “by winning more games than the Dodgers,” but thanks to this tidy little lead, that’s not the secret anymore. Sure it would help, and yes, it would be nice, but the Giants can win the NL West while also getting outperformed by the Dodgers the rest of the way.
That’s what the kids call math.
Before I show you all the ways it can happen, let’s look at a breakdown of their schedules:
The Giants have 22 games left, and the Dodgers have 21.
San Francisco has 10 games against the San Diego Padres, and three each against the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Los Angeles has six against the Padres and the Diamondbacks, and three each against the Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, and Milwaukee Brewers.
The Giants have 13 games against teams above .500, and nine against teams with losing records. The Dodgers have 12 games against teams above .500, and nine against teams with losing record.
San Francisco will be at Oracle Park 13 times and on the road nine times, and Los Angeles will be in Chavez Ravine 12 times and on the road nine times.
Pretty even, all things considered.
With the Giants having squeaked by LA in the season series, the teams will play a 163rd game in San Francisco if they finish with identical records, which I strongly advise them not to do. Heart health and whatnot.
Now with that said, here are all the possible outcomes for the final games of the season.
There are a lot of appealing options there. More importantly, there are a lot of feasible options.
Go get it, dudes.
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