So it comes down to this: two three-game series, Dodgers-Giants and Cardinals-Reds. The Giants have nothing at stake except the pride of their rivalry; the Reds are arguably fighting for home-field advantage (with the Nationals) as well as their own NL Central rivalry.
We need the Reds to take the series against St. Louis, if not sweep them outright. And we need to step up and win the series against the Giants, if not sweep them outright.
That's a lot of pressure. ESPN says we've got a 4.8% chance of earning that second wild card spot, for the right to play Atlanta in a one-game playoff of postseason baseball.
As someone said in the comments, this situation here in 2012 is indeed bleak, but then, did we ever really think we'd be contending this year in the first place? Given the new ownership taking the reins midway through the year, I never thought we'd be contending for the playoffs up to the final series of the year.
Sure, I did think the late-season trades we made would prove to have a higher yield than what we've seen. But I look at our current five-game win streak as hope for 2013, and at worst perhaps a complication as we consider the last-week performance of some of our players (some of whom have sucked since joining the Dodgers) and try to determine their potential for next season and beyond.
But this last series is about the here and now, and as one of only two people at SoSG Fest III who publicly admitted that we believed the Dodgers would make the playoffs, my optimism hasn't been totally squelched as of yet. At least, mathematically speaking.
I am resolved to the fact that it will likely be the Giants who knock us out, on our home field. And though I am resolved to root against them with fervor as they move on, I know this last series will be painful to watch as we become eliminated.
But I know I'll watch.
Let's go, Dodgers! PLAYOFFS!
Your pressure-generating reading links of this morning: