Panic and Frustration Aside, the Facts About Giants' Postseason Chances

Manny RandhawaCorrespondent IIIAugust 17, 2011

Panic and Frustration Aside, the Facts About Giants' Postseason Chances

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    If you're looking for lamentations over the unbelievably treacherous road the Giants have been on all season long, which came to a climax Tuesday night in Atlanta, you've got the wrong article.

    For those, see...well, see virtually everything else online with the words "San Francisco Giants" in the headline.

    Are the Giants in trouble? Sure.

    Is their quest to defend the World Series title through?

    Not quite.

    Here, you'll find some facts about the remainder of the 2011 season that may have been overlooked in those pieces favoring of a doomsday scenario for the defending world champs.

    As these realities bear out, the Giants are far from done in their bid to defend their title.

Pitching

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    The backbone of San Francisco's club, it's pitching, is still intact, save for Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez, the latter suffering a sprained ankle in Tuesday night's loss to Atlanta.

    All things considered (and all of those things being considered make for one uncanny succession of key injuries and obstacles for this team), having Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and comeback sensation Ryan Vogelsong, along with one of the best bullpens in the game, is not too shabby going into September.

    Despite all of the bad news about the Giants, especially as of late, the fact remains that San Francisco's pitching staff still ranks second in the league in ERA (3.16), first in opponents' batting average (.229), first in strikeouts (1,018), and tied for first (with Philadelphia) in quality starts (80).

The Return of Carlos Beltran

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    He was the prized acquisition prior to the July 31 trade deadline, and the Giants landed him.

    Sure, his debut in the Orange and Black was less than stellar (.244 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI).

    Sure, he's been hurt, going on the 15-day disabled list and prompting buyer's remorse across the Bay Area.

    But he's still Carlos Beltran, a six-time all-star, career .282 hitter with 295 home runs and 1,130 RBI. He's still the guy that's hitting .284 with 15 homers and 68 RBI for the season, with an on-base percentage of .378.

    And he's set to return when the Giants begin their next homestand on Tuesday.

Two Head-to-Head Series Against Arizona

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    The Giants are 3.5 games behind NL West-leading Arizona with 39 games to play.

    They have six head-to-head games with the Diamondbacks remaining, and the season series belongs to the Giants, eight games to four.

D'backs Have Won 7 Straight, but Play Two More vs. Phillies, Braves Next

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    The Diamondbacks are on a roll. There's no questioning that.

    But an equation that involves seven straight wins and the next five games being against the teams with the two best records in the league in Philadelphia and Atlanta, usually produces a few losses along the route.

Other Than Arizona, Giants Don't Have Any Games Left vs. Above-.500 Teams

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    Following the final two games of their series against the Braves, the Giants will play 31 of 37 against teams that are below .500.

    That would include contests with the Astros, Padres, Cubs, Dodgers and Rockies.

    And 21 of those 37 games will be at AT&T Park, including a 12-game homestand beginning Tuesday night.

The Roster Expands in September, Giving Giants Young, Energetic Options

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    Ah, September 1.

    The date that Bruce Bochy can finally rest after five months of playing the zero sum game of roster filling. One man goes on the DL, another comes up.

    One man gets placed on the DL for questionable (to put it mildly) reasons, in order to bring another key component of the club back to the Show.

    No more of that come next month, when the 25-man rosters expand to 40 for the playoff push, and young spark-plugs such as Darren Ford and perhaps a little pitching help in the form of someone like Eric Surkamp will join the big league team.

    Having Ford available off the bench, as an example, could be a late game changer, and a huge advantage for a team that plays as many one-run games as the Giants.

It's Far from over for the Defending Champs

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    It's not over.

    In fact, it's not anywhere close to over.

    The Giants and Diamondbacks play each other as late as September 25, and there's a lot of baseball left between now and then.