San Francisco Giants: Ways the Team Can Still Play Spoiler Down the Stretch

Keely FlanaganContributor IIIAugust 21, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 23:  Gerardo Parra #8 of the Arizona Diamonbacks catches a short fly ball of the bat of Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants, while avoiding running into teammate Didi Gregorius #1 in the fouth inning at AT&T Park on April 23, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants are in the closing weeks of a highly disappointing 2013 season.  At 56-69, the defending World Series champions are effectively out of playoff contention—and possibly a winning record. 

And yet, the battered G-men can still do some damage.

Yep, it's time to play the role of spoiler for teams still vying for a spot in the playoffs, and division leaders looking to either clinch a division title or end the regular season on a hot streak. 

In terms of the latter, the Giants can thwart the steady forward momentum of both the Pittsburgh Pirates and, more sweetly, the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

- Dodgers

- Pirates

With the wild card race approaching the final laps, the Giants represent prime obstacles for the playoff-hopeful Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals. 

The Nationals have undergone similar struggles to the Giants in 2013.  A mere season ago, these teams were playing in respective Game 5's of the NLDS.  Now, the Giants are out of the hunt and the Nationals (61-64) are barely afloat. (talk about pitching, under-performing sophomores, injuries). 

Still, if the Nats can pull off a late-minute surge, the postseason is not entirely out of their grasp.  

- Diamondbacks