The San Francisco Giants sit just five games behind divisional rival Los Angeles but with no signs of turnaround in sight, is the deficit too big for the Giants to overcome?
In order to overcome a deficit such as this one, a team has to be clicking on all cylinders and the San Francisco Giants haven’t shown such signs since early June. In fact, the Giants have been in a nose dive since claiming the league’s best record on June 9. They have lost 35 of their last 55 games and surrendered 13 games in the NL West standings all the while.
Further, you can’t be the best without beating the best and the Giants have struggled against the league’s stiffer competition. Since taking two of three from the Cinncinati Reds in early June, San Francisco has lost all eight of their series against teams currently .500 or better, with a record of 5-21 during that span. If the Giants have any hope of catching Los Angeles they have to start playing better baseball against the league’s best teams.
The Giants will have to wait until next week for the opportunity to reverse this trend and secure their first series win against a team with a winning record in over two months, when they head east for a three game set with the NL East leading Washington Nationals (65-53). The outcome of this series will be a key determining factor in whether the Giants have it what it takes to overcome a significant deficit.
Meanwhile, San Francisco has to focus on handling the teams that they should beat, as their next six games are against teams with losing records. After failing to beat the White Sox in Tuesday night’s series opener, the Giants aren’t off to a good start. If the Giants fail to establish some momentum and confidence against mediocre competition their record against winning teams is unlikely to improve as a result.
Also, in every good comeback there is usually a collapse to go along with it. The Giants went on to win the NL West and the World Series in 2010, after trailing San Diego by 7.5 games on Independence Day. The Padres’ 10-game losing streak in September allowed San Francisco the chance to take the division lead and the Giants never looked back. However, with a staff anchored by Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the chances of the Dodgers going on an extended losing streak is unlikely. Without a little help from their division rival, the Giants have only a little hope of making up the difference.
While the Giants’ hopes of a division title are quickly fading they still remain in the hunt for a Wild Card spot, which isn’t the worst consolation prize when you consider how far the Giants have fallen this season. Sometimes all it takes is just getting into the playoffs and it’s anybody’s ball game from there.
With their recent history in mind, it’s hard to ever count the Giants out of the division race, no matter how big the deficit might be. There appears to be no sign of a turnaround on the horizon and it’s getting about time to rule out a division title for San Francisco in 2014 but Giants’ fans can hold out just a little bit longer.