Liotta: Giants will be exciting till the end 

The roller-coaster that has been the 2010 version of the Giants continues, with plenty of clickity-clack rides to pinnacles followed by stomach-turning freefalls still to be had by all.

Dead one day in St. Louis. Alive the next at home against the Cincinnati Reds. Don’t turn away, this story will change again by the inning.

Thankfully, this afternoon’s game at AT&T Park against the Arizona Diamondbacks marks the fact that a five-week supply of Maalox is all Giants fans need in the medicine chest to make it to the end.  

It’s the playoffs or bust, with the fallout aimed directly at Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean. Their franchise futures are riding on this finish.

It’s pretty much assured that the whole thing winds up one of two ways: a white-knuckle E-ticket ride into the postseason or one huge dud of disappointment.

Pablo Sandoval appears to have awoken from season-long doldrums exactly when it appeared time to write him off as a flash in the rookie pan. Tim Lincecum continues to inch closer and closer to the “what-happened-to-him” category.

And if there’s anybody out there who had the Pat Burrell-Jose Guillen-Cody Ross trifecta as the guys Giants fans would be left to count on for their 2010 rewards, that’s a lottery ticket. These guys make Aubrey Huff look like a lifer in a San Francisco uniform. 

With 31 games to play, the Giants have at least a couple of weeks of scoreboard watching ahead of them, and they’ll be depending on teams like the New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs to do some of their dirty work for them.

While the Giants have two series with the ever-pesky San Diego Padres — not to mention a pair of three-setters with the Dodgers — they also have the lowly Diamondbacks twice more on the schedule. In all, the Giants have 19 division games left, with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cubs mixed in.

The Philadelphia Phillies may have the toughest road to the finish line thanks to a pair of series with the division-leading Atlanta Braves — that is if you still believe the Padres are not worthy of a division title. However, they also enjoy a pair of reunions with the Nationals and  two three-gamers with the Mets.

The Cardinals may have the easiest ride from here thanks to nine straight against the Pirates and Cubs over the season’s final two weeks.

In all, the Cardinals play 18 of their final 33 games against the Houston Astros, Cubs and Pirates. Chalk up Tony La Russa and Co. as the favorites for the wild card.

For Giants fans, it may come down to rooting for the Colorado Rockies to beat the Cardinals in a four-game, season-ending set.

After a season’s worth of unexpected twists and turns, that no longer sounds surprising.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at tliotta@sfexaminer.com.

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