Sitting at just 17-25, the San Francisco Giants are a long shot to make the playoffs in 2017. Even after their wonderful 5-2 home stand, the Giants are in 4th place in the NL West, around 9 games behind the first place Rockies.
A week ago, Chad an I recorded a podcast in which the basic theme was, “now or never”. Since the Giants recently reeled off a 5-game winning streak, and seem to be playing better ball, it got me wondering if they could possibly rebound from their bad start and make the postseason. I’m going to try to some answer some questions and see if we can look into the future and predict if the Giants can make it. All stats are from the Wild Card Era (1995-present).
Has a team in the Wild Card Era started this bad and still made the playoffs?
Yes. There is hope. Seven teams in the Wild Card Era have made the playoffs after starting a season 17-25 or worse. There have been a total of 186 playoff teams during this era, so that’s 3.8%. Or put another way, it’s an average of one team making a comeback from a bad start to make the playoffs every three seasons.
All of these teams but the 2005 Astros were exactly 17-25 like this year’s Giants. Houston was 2 games worse at 15-27. The teams.
2014 Pirates, 2013 Dodgers, 2009 Rockies, 2007 Rockies, 2005 Astros, 1996 Cards, 1995 Yankees
Of those teams, none of them won the World Series, so that kinda sucks. Only the 2005 Astros ( vs. White Sox) and 2007 Rockies (vs. Red Sox) made the Fall Classic and both were swept.
The only American League team on this list is the 1995 Yankees, and they fired their manager after the season. That was the first ever AL Wild Card and a strike-shortened season. Since then, it looked like most years the teams that made the playoffs in the AL were pretty good by this point in the season.
Every team but the 2014 Pirates had a winning streak of longer than 5 games that season. So the Giants are probably going to have to put together more than just the recent 5-game streak they had at home.
We talked last week about how many wins the Giants would need to qualify for the playoffs. The average win total for a wild card team since 2012 when the extra team was added is 90.5. Let’s round that up to 91 and say that the Giants need to go 74-46 the rest of the way. That’s a .617 winning percentage.
Can the Giants get to .500 by the All Star Break and then make a push?
All the teams above were at .500 or better by the All-Star Break except the Yankees in 1995. That was a strike-shortened season. So the answer is yes, get to .500 by the break and the Giants have a chance. If not, you can pretty much kiss their hopes goodbye.
When was the last time the Giants had such an ugly win-loss record through 42 games?
The year was 2008. The Giants were also 17-25 through 42 games that season and finished with a 72-90 record. You remember that season, right? We had no idea if there would be life after Barry Bonds. Thankfully, there was.
What was the record for each Giants playoff team in the Wild Card Era?
1997: 25-17 | 2000: 19-23 | 03: 27-15 | 10: 22-20 | 12: 22-20 | 14: 27-15 | 16: 24-18
As you can see, 2000 is the only season the Giants had a losing record at this point and still made the playoffs. None of the recent World Series teams were this bad, but it is good to note that 2010 and 2012 were barely above .500.
So does any of this mean the Giants will make the playoffs or did you just waste my time?
Obviously I can’t see the future. If I could, I’d be making money off that talent. I hope I haven’t wasted your time or mine, it took a while to find these numbers. Do I think they have a chance? Sure, why not. It’s still early. There’s 120 games left in the season, so there may just be enough baseball left.
We’ll be back after the weekend with another podcast in which we’ll recap the Cardinals series and talk revenge as the Giants face the Cubs in Chicago for the first time since last year’s playoffs. Thanks for listening and reading!