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

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

SAN DIEGO — Finally on the other side of a three-week gauntlet against contender after contender, the Giants weren’t sure when their charter flight touched down here Wednesday night whether possible reinforcements might be on the way. The answer came the following morning: They fared too well to be in position to scoop up a surprise late-season gift.

Close to a dozen veterans were placed on irrevocable waivers this week, including nearly a quarter of the Angels’ roster, but none of them were claimed by the Giants as the deadline came and passed Thursday morning.

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

Another silver lining: Of the teams chasing them in the wild card race, only one, the Reds, was able to boost its roster. The greatest goods went to the American League, where the Cleveland Guardians blocked the most sought-after players from joining National League contenders.

By owning the worst record of any team that placed claims, Cleveland was able to add a trio of pitchers from the Angels: starter Lucas Giolito, right-handed reliever Reynaldo Lopez and left-handed reliever Matt Moore. A pair of outfielders, Harrison Bader, who was waived by the Yankees, and Hunter Renfroe, another Angels cast off, were claimed by the Reds.

Miami, which had priority over Cincinnati but not Cleveland, was expected to be aggressive but came up empty handed. Its bullpen could use a boost, with the implosion of deadline acquisition David Robertson. The D-backs, who could also use some bullpen help, reportedly put claims in on four players but missed out on all of them.

The Reds owned a higher spot in the waiver order after dropping two of three at Oracle Park this week.

The Giants will take the wins, which carried larger implications.

Under MLB’s new playoff format, there are no more extra games to determine the final playoff teams or seeding. Ties are determined by a series of records, starting with the teams’ head-to-head play. If they are even there, the next determining factor is their intradivision record.

The Giants picked up tiebreakers the Reds with their series win and the Phillies by eking out one win in three games last week in Philadelphia. They took the season series from both teams, 4-3 and 4-2, respectively. Coupled with an 18-11 record in the NL West, that puts them in good position depending on the outcome of a couple upcoming series.

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They have a chance to build on their NL West record this weekend against the Padres, who dropped to 10 games under .500 with their loss Wednesday. But much bigger games loom the following week at Wrigley Field and on their final road trip of the season, a three-city swing through the NL West, including one particularly important two-game set.

Set to face off for three games, the Giants trail the Cubs by two games for the second wild card spot and lost the first two of three they played at Oracle Park. With a sweep, they could not only overtake them in the standings but clinch the tiebreaker, too.

Sandwiched between trips to Coors Field and Dodger Stadium, the Giants’ final two games against the D-backs loom as large as any left on the schedule. A sweep at the hands of the Dodgers knocked them a half-game back of the Giants; one win is all San Francisco needs to clinch the season series.

All told, the Giants didn’t drown during a stretch of 18 straight games — six series — against teams in playoff position. They didn’t do much more than tread water, either. They went 7-11 and lost five of the six series. But they weren’t swept once, and in NL wild card race this year, not drowning might be good enough.