If you're struggling to envision a scenario in which the Giants, against odds that even the glass-half-fullest fans have to concede are longer than the concession lines just before the beer-pouring cutoff, envision instead something you've already seen.
It was the moment that good ol' Bruce Bochy finally started getting the credit he had long been due, a truly defining moment in a tenure as skipper that started with skepticism but has grown into fodder for legitimate Hall of Fame conversations.
As Don Mattingly walked off the field, Bochy hobbled onto it. A game's momentum was reversed, the flames of an already-legendary rivalry were fanned, and a perception -- that Bochy was a bit of a dim bulb -- was forever changed.
You all remember it, right? The Los Angeles Dodgers were about to close out a victory when Bochy noticed that Mattingly had unwittingly made two mound trips in one, called him on it, L.A.'s closer had to leave the game and the Giants went on to an improbable victory.
Mattingly wasn't yet the Dodgers' manager, merely subbing in the wake of an earlier ejection, but he's the manager now, and if the Giants somehow, improbably win the National League West, it will be in large part because of what Bochy established that long-ago evening: He's a far superior skipper.
As miserable as things have gone for the Giants since that tremendous start, have you once seen Bochy call any of his own on the carpet? Angrily snap at the media? Question his superiors? Demean his subordinates? Deflect blame? Air dirty clubhouse laundry?
Nope. Have you ever seen him do any of that, ever? Nope. Have you ever seen Mattingly do any of it? Good god, yes. He does it all the time, and if the Dodgers, who are as mercurial a lot as there is in the bigs right now, happen to suffer a late-summer slide and start to hear Giant footsteps, you can be fairly certain he'll do it again.
And with the combustible cast of characters in that clubhouse, things will go from bad to worse in a hurry.
Bochy, meanwhile, will do what he's always done. He'll offer emotional and strategic stability, quietly letting anyone paying close attention that everything is going to be OK.
Keep plugging away, boys. You never know.Look, the Dodgers are a better team. Period. That pitching is insane.
But we are talking about six weeks, and if any one man in orange and black is capable of heavily tipping even scales in San Francisco's favor, it's good ol' Bruce.