Let's see, where were we? Ah yes, the Giants! Another year as reigning champs and another year of having been written off as having an outside chance at best at making the post-season, nevermind the repeat. This would be the year of the Dodgers, they said. This would be the year of the Pirates or the Nationals or the Cardinals, they said. But "no!" we fans said. This would be the year the Giants break the cycle of World Series/no post-season/World Series/no post-season/World Series, we said. So who has been right so far?

All of us, sorta.

In the NL East, the New York Mets have been carried by their utterly ridiculously exceptional pitching staff of young guns to the top of the division with the forever-ripening Washington Nationals only 1.5 games back in second. In the NL Central, the cheating St. Louis Cardinals own baseball's best record at 71-40, an unbelievable 31 games over .500. And yet, somehow they haven't run away with the division, as the Pittsburgh Pirates have maintained pace by going 65-44, only 5 games back, with the Chicago Cubs just behind them at 62-48.

And then there's home, the West. For all the hardware the Giants have brought home over the past five years, it is always the Bums that are predicted to win the West at the start of each season. And it's not hard to see why. Their team payroll is over $300 million. That's a whole lot of simoleons. The difference in dollars between the Bums and the Giants is greater than the difference between the Giants and the paupers of baseball, the Marlins. And we're the fourth spendiest team!

So what does $300 million buy? A two bedroom pied-à-terre in the Inner Sunset! Yuk yuk yuk. No, seriously, folks, it bought them 1st place in the NL West.

But enough about them. The Giants have been in 2nd place since May 16, save for one day in 1st on May 29. In that time period, the Giants have fallen as far as 5.5 games behind the Bums and have gotten as close as 0.5 games. Currently, they are 3 games back. Not bad!

But not great either. If the season ended right now, the Mets are in, the Cards are in, the Bums are in, and the Pirates and Cubbies are the two wildcards, casting us and the Nats as the Dickensian street urchins on the outside looking in. So yes, as of right now, all the naysayers have been correct and the feast and famine of recent history will seemingly continue.

Good thing there's 50 games left then.

The last 50 games start tonight, at home. The Houston Astros, leaders in the AL West (I will never get used to this), come to town for two games. Then we host the Washington Walgreens for a four-game series before we hit the road for St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Then we host the Cubbies and the Cards, and then head to LA to see about the Bums. Christ Jesus, who set up this ever-loving schedule?!

Looks like I'll be drinking bourbon this month. You?

Season to date: 59-52 (.532); 2nd Place in the NL West
Games back: 2.5 NL West; 3.5 Wildcard

This Week
Tue: home v. the Astros, 7:15 PM
Wed: home v. the Astros, 12:45 PM
Thu: home v. the Nationals, 7:15 PM
Fri: home v. the Nationals, 7:15 PM
Sat: home v. the Nationals, 7:05 PM
Sun: home v. the Nationals, 1:05 PM