Today’s mid-day post is brought to you by the Magic Number 25. The baseball calculation of the month is the Magic Number—the amount of wins plus the amount of second place team losses that will propel the first place team to the postseason—and I’ll give you, dear reader, the easiest formula to generate it.
Where M is the Magic Number, W1 is the amount of wins from the first place team and L2 is the amount of losses from the second place team. In this case, the Giants have won 75 games and the Dodgers have lost 63.
Thus, the Magic Number is 25.
Quod erat demonstrandum.
There’s your math lesson for the day. I covered history with the Giant of the Week earlier today so let’s get to religious studies and examine the whims of the baseball gods over the past month.
The Giants have been playing like a studlier version of the 2010 squad as of late whilst the Dodgers have been playing like group of car sick tee-ballers. It seems like no amount of greenbacks—regardless of how obscene that sum may be—will placate the baseball gods in the City of Angels. The Giants have made moves but they’ve been cheap and smart, quite the opposite of the Dodgers strategy which has seemingly been an internalized conversation along the lines of “the more expensive it is, the better it is. Right? Right.” Wrong. While Gyros fans bemoaned the loss of the Melkman and maniacal Dodgers fans cheered for the new blockbuster trade that each week brought, I have been content to watch a team of miSFits somehow piece together some of the best offensive baseball that the city of San Francisco has seen in years and doing it in such a stealthy and unheralded fashion that me thinks some of Brian Wilson’s mental ninja-ry rubbed off on the impressionable Brandon Belt.
Note to the reader: The following paragraph is a transcript of the mid-afternoon conversation between Wally and an empty chair alla mystery Republican National Convention speaker, Clint Eastwood.
What’s that, dear reader? You would like some proof of the aforementioned offensive stealth? Fair enough, but please tell me which player had the best batting average in all of MLB in the month of August? You’re stumped? Joaquin Arias. Absurd, right? Right.
The Giants found a way to top the National League in runs throughout August and all of their offensive splits have been near the top of the Majors with the exception of slugging percentage. I don’t mind that, I don’t mind that one bit. It means the Giants are playing smart and hitting well. They don’t depend on the deep ball the way they did in 2010.
Trying to figure out what lineup Bruch Bochy is going to hand in is like trying to answer a question about Prince’s discography without use of Wikipedia—it used to be somewhat difficult but now it’s just impossible. At the present moment, the hot handed Arias is platooned with teenage heart throb, Brandon Crawford, at shortstop. However, there have been hints that Bochy is encouraging Arias to play in left field so he can get to the plate more as the left handed Crawford gets most of the starts. By hints I mean Bochy has told the media that he has asked Arias to play in left. That said, Bay Area native and boyhood Giants fan, Xavier Nady, got his first start in black and orange at left field today and made Brian Sabean look like a deranged, mad scientist, genius yet again. In his first at bat, Nady cleared a loaded pond with a steaming double right inside the bag at third. Somehow the Baby Panda—Hector Sanchez—huffed and puffed his way from third to home, a feat in itself. If Nady can keep things going and prove he’s still capable of Major League at bats and Arias agrees to play in left, correctly picking the Giants lineup will be on par with hitting the power ball.
Nady’s three ribbies proved to be enough as Tim Lincecum threw a solid game to pick up the win. Lincecum’s only tough moment came in the third inning when he gave up a walk to start things off and then watched David of Jesus (DeJesus) blast a 1-1 fastball offering out of the park with the wind at its back. As always, Timmy was still able to confuse the heck out of the opposing lineup and registered seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched. The bullpen shut down the Cubbies for the final 11 outs of the game, allowing just one base runner, and Sergio Romo executed the save.
Pitching has been solid, it could be better but it could be worse. In this sport—as in life—you learn to praise the things you have and not get too greedy. Sure, I could regale you with statistics and point out that the bullpen has been throwing better yet could/should be lights out but let’s keep the eye on the ball and remember where the team sits right now, five games up on the Dodgers. You’ll never hear me complain about that. Heck, they could be 14 games behind the Rockies but there would still be a silver lining to that cloud if the boys in blue trailed the Giants by five.
Here’s to hoping the Dodgers will help lower that magic number this evening and here’s to a great August and here’s to closing down the NL West in September! Slainte!