SF Giants miss out on waivers extravaganza, but it’s not all bad news

Wins in 3 of their past 4 games put the Giants back in playoff position and in control of a couple tiebreakers but meant they missed out on the six veterans claimed on waivers Thursday

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Finally out of a three-week slog against contender after contender, the Giants weren’t sure whether reinforcements were on their way when their charter flight touched down here Wednesday night. The answer came the next morning: they did too well to be eligible for a late-season surprise.

Nearly a dozen veterans were placed on irrevocable waivers this week, including nearly a quarter of the Angels’ roster, but none were claimed by the Giants before the deadline on Thursday morning.

The good news is that San Francisco didn’t stand a chance at any of them because of its position in the standings — a half-game lead on the third and final wild card spot entering Thursday.

Another plus: Only one of the teams chasing them in the wild card race, the Reds, was able to improve its roster. The best players went to the American League, where the Cleveland Guardians prevented them from joining National League contenders.

Cleveland was able to add a trio of pitchers from the Angels despite having the worst record of any team that placed claims: starter Lucas Giolito, right-handed reliever Reynaldo Lopez, and left-handed reliever Matt Moore. The Reds claimed two outfielders, Harrison Bader, who was waived by the Yankees, and Hunter Renfroe, who was released by the Angels.

Miami, which had priority over Cincinnati but not over Cleveland, was expected to be aggressive but came up short. With the implosion of deadline acquisition David Robertson, its bullpen could use a boost. The D-backs, who could use some bullpen help, reportedly made claims on four players but were unsuccessful in all of them.

After dropping two of three games at Oracle Park this week, the Reds moved up in the waiver list.

The Giants will take the victories with greater ramifications.

There will be no more extra games to determine the final playoff teams or seeding under MLB’s new playoff format. Ties are determined by a series of records, beginning with head-to-head play between the teams. If they are even present, their interdivision record is the next deciding factor.

The Giants earned tiebreakers over the Reds and the Phillies by winning one of three games last week in Philadelphia. They won the season series against both teams, 4-3 and 4-2. With an 18-11 record in the NL West, they are in a good position depending on the outcome of two upcoming series.

They have a chance to improve on their NL West record this weekend when they face the Padres, who fell to 10 games under.500 with their loss on Wednesday. But much bigger games await the Cubs the following week at Wrigley Field and on their final road trip of the season, a three-city swing through the NL West that includes a crucial two-game set.

The Giants are two games behind the Cubs for the second wild card spot and have lost the first two of three games at Oracle Park. They could not only overtake them in the standings but also win the tiebreaker with a sweep.

The Giants’ final two games against the D-backs loom as large as any remaining on the schedule, sandwiched between trips to Coors Field and Dodger Stadium. A Dodgers sweep dropped them a half-game behind the Giants; one win is all San Francisco needs to clinch the season series.

Overall, the Giants did not drown during a stretch of 18 straight games — six series — against playoff teams. They also didn’t do much more than tread water. They finished 7-11, losing five of six series. But they weren’t swept once, and in this year’s NL wild card race, not drowning might be enough.

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