I’m seeing some pretty silly posts on Giants fan sites that with a great second half, they could sneak into a wildcard spot.
Sorry, I’ll give you a few seconds to finish laughing and then take a shot while you weep softly.
Yes, most of us understand that’s not going to happen.
However, if some of you truly think it’s possible, I can’t say it’s mathematically impossible. Clearly it’s not. But, let’s just look at numbers and history, shall we?
The Giants are officially half-way through the season and stand with a 30-51 record. First, they’d have to go a mirrored 51-30 just to finish .500. Ok, we can agree that’s outside the realm of plausibility. Let’s look at what it would hypothetically take to grab a wild card spot, however.
The worst wild card record stands at 87 wins by the Giants and Mets in 2014. Technically, this is only .002 pct pts better than the 1995 Rockies that snuck into the playoffs with a 77-67 record in a strike-shortened season. In the expanded wild card era (since 2012), 10 wildcard teams have averaged 91.1 wins. Of course, the one side-exception is the 2006 NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals who won the World Series after an unprecedented low win total of just 83. That’s just 4 games above .500 for the season. That is an outlier, and for certain, the NL West winner will not have 83 wins, with LA, Arizona and Colorado heading well into the 90 win total.
For sake of argument, let’s take 87 wins as the bare minimum. Then, the Giants would have to go 57-24 the rest of the way. That’s a .703 winning percentage! No MLB team in the modern era has played a half at this level, except the 2001 Seattle Mariners who went 60-21 (.741) in the first half of 2001. Of course, they lost in the ALDS that year, so.
Look, the Giants were incredible in the first half last year, going an MLB-best 57-33 (.633) before the All Star break before a second half collapse that saw them barely make the playoffs (BTW, they were 50-31 at the exact half-way point, almost the mirror image of their record now. That second half collapse is basically continuous with this year’s first half. They’re not a good team right now, nor for the last full seasoned number of games.
Compare this to the Dodgers’ current record, which will sit no worse than 52-29, and that’s only if they lose tonight. They could finish the first half with three more wins than the MLB-best Giants last year. Arizona will also at least match the Giants’ first half record from last year, and could get that 51st win in their 81st game tonight.
Almost certainly, the Giants would need to win more than 87 games to get the wild card, perhaps 89 or 90, which would require the second-best half in MLB modern history, behind the 2001 Mariners first half.
So, back off of the orange Kool-Aid for those of you thinking the Giants “have a chance” to make the playoffs. It’s not happening, but let’s just hope they can avoid the 100 loss embarrassment, which they are on track to exceed.