Giants Analysis

How Giants' 10-game winning streak impacted their NL West odds

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Before the Giants went for an 11th straight win Thursday, manager Gabe Kapler said he couldn't remember if he had ever reached double-digits as a player or manager. His lean was that he hadn't, in part because he played on some pretty bad teams in Detroit, Texas and Colorado early in his career.

But Kapler was forgetting about a couple of runs with an organization that put a ring on his finger. In 2004, the Red Sox won 20 of 22 at one point, including 10 in a row. Two years later, Kapler returned from a ruptured Achilles in the middle of June and didn't deal with a defeat until his 13th day back in the big leagues. That Red Sox team won 12 straight, and like the Giants, they had back-to-back walk-offs as the streak started to get serious.

That Red Sox team also watched the postseason from home after finishing in third place, a reminder that even the hottest stretches guarantee nothing. The Giants have certainly made their outlook a lot rosier, though.

After nearly getting no-hit by Kyle Hendricks and the Chicago Cubs on June 10, the Giants had a 41.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, per FanGraphs. That number is now up to 69.8 percent, with their NL West odds jumping from 6.8 percent to 19.8 after the streak that ended Thursday when they got blown out 10-0 by the Padres.

Winning 10 in a row is a positive at any time, but the Giants' best streak since 2004 was particularly well-timed. Three of the wins came against the Dodgers and three against the Padres, the two teams favored to win the NL West. The Padres, in particular, are struggling to keep up, and the Giants kicked them in the teeth after they arrived riding some momentum.

At the moment, it's the young Diamondbacks on top in the NL West, and they're up next for the Giants. After taking two of three in Milwaukee, the Diamondbacks had to make a pit stop in Washington D.C. on their way to San Francisco to make up a game that was delayed earlier this month by heavy smoke on the East Coast. With a 5-3 win, they'll enter this weekend's series with a 3 1/2 lead in the West. In a hurry, they have gone from pesky to contender.

"I just think they're a really well-balanced team. They do a lot of things well," Kapler said. "They have a good pitching rotation, they play really good defense, they're fast. They take advantage of opposing teams' weaknesses. This will be a tough challenge for us but I think we're in a good position to meet that challenge."

Kapler credited several of his players with helping that cause. He didn't want to use Camilo Doval, Tyler Rogers or Ryan Walker in the finale because of heavy workloads in recent days, so Jakob Junis wore it for nearly four innings and David Villar pitched the ninth, making his first appearance on a mound since eighth grade. With LaMonte Wade Jr. and Mike Yastrzemski hurt, Joc Pederson played first base in the ninth.

"While it was a bad day -- it's not a day that we're going to want to remember -- there was some really good teammate behavior that you only see on good teams," Kapler said.

Ideally, it wouldn't have been needed, but Alex Wood fell behind early after giving up a pair of three-run homers. He said he was "super frustrated" by his lack of command and looking forward to digging into it with coaches on Friday. It was a rough day, but the recent streak made it easier to swallow.

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As Wood spoke, a Bob Marley song played softly in the background. Wood noted that the vibes were still high in the clubhouse despite the loss. You can absorb the gut punches and move on when you're back in the race and feel like you'll be there the rest of the year. Even a 10-0 loss is dismissed quickly.

"They just kinda kicked our ass," Kapler said of the Padres. "There's really no other way to characterize it."

And with that, Kapler and the Giants moved on to the Diamondbacks.

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