The Giants begin their final home stand of the season with a four game series against the Colorado Rockies. It's September, so it feels like the Giants just played the Rockies, and they just did. But the big difference now is that they aren't at a Coors Field that was playing like the Coors Field of lore.
And the magic number is nine. That's definitely what you're thinking about, and it's what I'm thinking about. I am somewhat interested in the pitching match-ups (the Giants will see Jhoulys Chacin, Jeff Francis, Tyler Chatwood, and somebody else to be announced), but, but, but, the magic number. I've rolled the scenarios around, and would like to see the Giants clinch the NL West at home. Who, not draped in Dodger blue, wouldn't? And while the Giants see the Rockies, Padres, and Diamondbacks, the Dodgers face the Nationals, Reds, and Padres on the road.
Nine. Any number of Giants wins and Dodger losses. In order for the final series of the season to be meaningful for the NL West division title, the Giants have to do no better than 5-8, and in that case, the Dodgers have to win all 12 of their games. But we already know, anything less than 6-4 (or, for some, 7-3) over the next ten games will feel like defeat.
OK, back to the Rockies. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, making jokes about how the Dodgers will have piled up a $198 million dollar payroll to face the Fresno Grizzlies at the end of the season. Those will come later.
First, what we need to know: baseball can be amazing, fun, weird, and hubristic. I'm not rooting for hubristic baseball. We've seen weird, lately, and a few amazing (which I'd define as those plays which produce yelling at the screen while they happen, including expressions of incredulity that such a play would turn out as it did, etc.) and fun things lately. However, do keep in mind that Carlos Gonzalez, Jordan Pacheco, and Wilin Rosario could be seriously aggravating hitters in crucial situations. Dexter Fowler and Josh Rutledge can get on base and be very annoying when one desires to retire the Rockies without weirdness.
And the Giants could hack, go and hack away at undertalented and/or beleaguered pitching staffs, although last time through Colorado, there was a decent display of plate discipline. It seems obvious that if a starting pitcher has a 75 pitch limit, that it helps the cause to let some pitches go by, and the odds are that Marco Scutaro and Buster Posey will see at least 20-25 of those. Pablo Sandoval, who I'd prefer to see not scuffle, will see at least two or three.
In the best-case scenario, the Rockies will not discover their offense. The Giants will not hack. The starting rotation will return to form, Buster Posey will do that MVP stuff, and Sandoval will be a little less of the sad panda with no plate discipline (.216/.273/.250... .250 slugging?!) that he's been for at least the past 28 days.
And more Buster Posey.