The Los Angeles Dodgers apparently didn’t get the memo. The one to all major league teams reminding them that as an even-numbered year this one belongs to the San Francisco Giants and everybody stay out of their way. Ignoring reality, the Dodgers have plopped themselves in the Giants’ way in their quest to position themselves for a fourth World Series championship in seven years.
Once eight games ahead of the Dodgers, the Giants plunged three games behind them last week before shaving their deficit to two games by beating the Dodgers in the final game of their three-game series. The teams entered Sunday’s games with two games separating them.
This is supposed to be the Giants’ year to win the World Series because they won it in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Of course, they don’t have to finish ahead of the Dodgers in the National League West to be in position to win the 2016 World Series. They can qualify for the post-season as a wild card, as they did in 2014.
That year the Giants finished six games behind the Dodgers in the division but tied Pittsburgh for the best wild-card record. They beat the Pirates in the wild-card game, then knocked off Washington in the division series, St. Louis in the league championship series and Kansas City in the seven-game World Series.
The Giants began play Sunday two games behind the Dodgers but ahead of the other contenders in the wild-card standings.
The way the first 90 games of the season went it didn’t seem as if the Giants would have difficulty winning the N.L. West title. They reached the All-Star break with the best record in the majors, 57-33, six and a half games ahead of the second-place Dodgers. They had held first place for all but 13 days of that 90-game segment of the season.
However, the Dodgers’ 51-40 record was respectable and kept them close enough to challenge the Giants post-All-Star break. From the resumption of the season through Saturday night, the Dodgers had a 21-17 record. Again, respectable but not good enough to overcome the Giants unless the Giants helped.
The Giants more than helped. Playing as if their “win” switch had been turned off, the Giants lost 25 of their first 36 games after the break, dropping out of first place and falling three games behind the Dodgers. Just in time, though, before their season completely spiraled out of control, Manager Bruce Bochy relocated the “win” switch and the Giants rallied for a pair of victories before the weekend and sliced their deficit to one game.
Because this is 2016, it is not surprising that …