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9.29.2006

The Third Imperative 

At the start of every Giants season, the first imperative is to make the playoffs and win it all. If the first imperative cannot be achieved, the second imperative is to finish ahead of the Dodgers.

This year, the Giants have miserably failed both of those goals. There remains only the third imperative: knock the Dodgers out of the playoffs.

Thanks to the pesky Nationals and the unpesky Rockies, the Dodgers have pulled out to a two-game wild-card lead with three to play. Dodgers here for three this weekend, Phils in Florida for three.

It should be a cliffhanging weekend in three divisions, and each race has a Giant angle.

1) NL Central: The Cardinals' epic collapse and Houston's unbelievable hot streak have brought the Astros within a half-game of the NL Central. Amazing, and unfortunate for the Giants. It looks like they'll have to fly to St. Louis Monday to make up their rained out game. Perhaps unfortunate for the Astros, too -- the Giants aren't likely to mount much of an effort, even if their regulars make the trip.

2) AL Central: The Minnesota Giants have tied Detroit for the lead. Stupendous. The Giants...oh, sorry, I mean the Twins. The single biggest factor in the team's success this year is probably the Pierzynski trade. Joe Nathan remains an elite closer, Liriano would have been runaway rookie of the year if not for the elbow injury, and Boof Bonser has filled Liriano's spot in the rotation admirably and will be Minnesota's #2 starter in the playoffs. If the Twins win it all, they should send Brian Sabean a ring. Or at least a nice floral arrangement.

3) NL West: Beat L.A. Enough said.

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