Since the Giants' batting lineup surprised us by starting to hit, the team is starting to do something even more surprising. They're checking the standings to see where they are in the NL playoff race.
Of course, many of us fans are always totally convinced that the Giants are definitely in the playoff race right up until the minute they're mathematically eliminated. So you'll hear playoff talk any season, no matter how poorly the Giants are faring.
But this year, they're not faring poorly at all. These San Francisco Giants, who take on the Oakland A's at 7 p.m. Saturday night on KNTV, haven't had a winning season since 2004. But they do this year as we approach mid-June and the one-third mark of the regular season.
And the scribes are taking note. Bruce Jenkins validated nutjob optimists like myself in a piece in yesterday's Chronicle that noted the Giants' recent upswing and current predicaments of other NL wild card contenders. "You can hardly call it a "race" this early in the season," Jenkins writes, "but whatever reality might be in store as to the teams' relative strengths, the Giants are on relatively even terms with the Mets, Reds, Cubs, Cardinals and Braves - and only New York has a better record."
It's not just us with the orange-colored glasses. Jon Weisman asks in his LA Times' Dodger Thoughts blog, "Are the San Francisco Giants a legitimate playoff contender? They have some great pitching and some great prospects, which in my mind makes their roster competitive and easier to improve down the stretch than other rivals."
It's awfully early in the season to be thinking playoffs. But for a fan base that hasn't been able to think playoffs in awhile, it's a better situation than we've been used to.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who already thinks the Warriors are looking good in the playoff race, too.