October baseball’s been good to the Giants this decade. After a six-year playoff drought, San Francisco returned to the postseason with a thud, winning 11 of its 15 games en route to a World Series Championship. Just two years later San Francisco did it again, squeaking out of the National League bracket before sweeping Detroit in the World Series for its second title in three years. After an empty 2013, the Giants are back as fans who hit AT&T Park parking for postseason baseball strap themselves in for another playoff journey.
The 2014 regular season was an up-and-down campaign for San Francisco. The season before ended with a 76-and-86 record and the first losing year for the Giants in four seasons. A dedicated fan base, not used to losing baseball of late, expected a rebound, and at first, that’s what they got. By early June, San Francisco had raced out to a 42-and-21 start, mounting a 10-game over the second-place Dodgers.
That double-digit lead evaporated in just over a month, as a rough stretch for San Francisco let Los Angeles overtake first place in the N.L. West. It’s a lead L.A. would not surrender, but the Giants got their act together to make a push for the wild card, which they clinched last weekend.
The celebration will soon turn into fingernail biting, as a wild card berth in Major League Baseball today is a dicey proposition. Up until 2012, wild card winners were routed straight into the leagues Divisional Series, a best three-out-of-five. Now, wild card winners square off against one another in a one-game playoff, leaving no margin for error. So a potential World Series run this year is far more treacherous for the Giants than in years past, as this one could be over just hours after it starts.
The quest likely begins on the road in Pittsburgh (or possibly St. Louis), where the Pirates won 62% of their games this season. Should the Giants survive the game, they can be assured of some home action and San Francisco Giants parking for the NLDS.