The glory of 162.

When the Giants and Dodgers play, the intensity is dialed up.

They played 162 games. The Giants won 107 of those, the Dodgers 106. They’ve played four in this best-of-five. They’ve each won two. It all gets settled today, in what should be the most intense game of the year.

But, as big as this game is, and since there wasn’t a game yesterday to talk about, it’s interesting to remember back to last year and the abbreviated sixty-game schedule, and see how different the playoff picture would have been had this season been only sixty games.

The ten playoff teams this year were: Tampa Bay, Boston, New York, Chicago, Houston in the American League, and Atlanta, Milwaukee, St Louis, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in the National League. 

But had the season stopped at sixty games, it would have been much different.

Tampa Bay would have won the A.L. East and Chicago the Central. But Oakland would have won the West, being up two games over Houston at the sixty-game mark. The two wild card teams would have been Boston and Cleveland. 

The Athletics and Indians hit brick walls. The Yankees were in fourth place. And the Astros, who are headed to the Championship Series, wouldn’t have even made the playoffs. 

In the N.L., the Mets would have won the East, Milwaukee the Central, and San Francisco the West. San Diego and Chicago would have been the wild cards. Look how different that ended up. 

Atlanta was under .500 at the sixty-game mark. The Dodgers were in third and wouldn’t have made it. And the Cubs and Padres had free-falls after that.

That kind of puts the 2020 season in a bit of perspective. And it makes you appreciate the value of a full season. Marathon runners versus sprinters. Getting out of the gate strong helps but you need the endurance to keep it up.

By the way, the Rangers would have still finished in last place. At the sixty-game mark, they were 23-37, a .383 winning percentage. They ended up at .370. Baseball would have been kind to Rangers fans if they had limited them to just sixty games this year.