The San Diego Padres, currently in 1st place with 34 wins against 23 losses, stand nine games in front of our beloved San Francisco Giants, who currently are in 4th place with 24 wins against 31 losses.
Let's figure out about what the Giants would have to do to catch them.
The Padres are running just under a .600 winning percentage, which would put them at a pace for about 97 wins. The Giants, meanwhile, are at a .436 winning percentage, calculated out to around 71 wins. If we give the Padres just a skoche of bad luck, and put them at 95 wins, the Giants would have to go a scintillating 72- 36 from here on out just to tie the Padres. 72-36 would be a .667 winning percentage, meaning the Giants would have to win at a pace that is 65% better than what they are doing right now.
And remember, they'd have to start doing that right now. No waiting for Jason Schmidt to figure out how to become dominant again, no waiting for Barry Bonds to return as Superman and play every single game the rest of the season. No waiting for Brian Sabean to figure out that Marquis Grissom just can't help this team, and that there are two better, cheaper, younger options on the team in the forms of Jason Ellison and even Michael Tucker.
There also isn't any room for Jim Brower. He's been pretty good for the Giants in his previous seasons with the club, but he stinking up the joint right now, and the Giants can't afford to run him out there in any kind of game-deciding situation. I don't think the guy is as bad as he's been pitching, but again, if we are thinking of what the Giants would have to do to even consider catching the Padres, Brower can't be a part of it. It's too risky.
LaTroy Hawkins has to pitch like he's back in Minnesota, and Tyler Walker can't keep doing this Jeckyll and Hyde routine -- he's got to pitch like he has in 18 of the 25 games he's pitched this season, which have been scoreless outings. He definitely can't be like four of those 25 games, where he's given up 12 runs to get six outs.
Both Kirk Rueter and Jeff Fassero must keep surprising us with their effective pitching, and rookies Lance Niekro and the aforementioned Jason Ellison must keep up their production (.917 and .860 OPS, respectively). Edgardo Alfonzo, Omar Vizquel, Mike Matheny, Moises Alou, Pedro Feliz, and J.T. Snow definitely can't afford to be worse than they are right now -- they have to at least keep their production levels steady, and hopefully be a bit better.
Deivi Cruz has got to keep hitting off the bench, and Michael Tucker needs to hit more off the bench. Yorvit Torrealba is doing okay, but also must get no worse.
Scott Eyre must continue to whoop ass out of the bullpen, and Scott Munter has to continue to quietly surprise us. Jason Christiansen had better be lights out against left-handed batters, and if he's kept around, Al Levine must be good enough to use in non-mop-up situations. Otherwise, get him out of there and promote somebody with more ability, Sabean.
Noah Lowry should take a look at his 2nd starts vs. the Pirates and Padres, in addition to his start vs. the Athletics, because that's how he's got to pitch the rest of the season. He shouldn't look at all the other starts because if he's anything like me, after looking at them, he'll throw up in his mouth just a little.
Brett Tomko's got to become Jason Schmidt, and do it for only 2 million dollars a year. He can't just be a decent #2 starter or a good #3 starter, he's got to pitch like a staff ace because Schmidt can't be counted on to do that right now.
It starts with the series beginning tomorrow vs. the Kansas City Royals. The Royals were playing better for a second under new manager Buddy Bell, but have since gotten their lunch money taken in their last two games -- the Giants have to beat them up, along with the Cleveland Indians, who come into town right after the Royals. The goal should be winning five of six games.
Let's see how everybody responds, eh?