San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner has been mentioned as trade bait all season for playoff contenders, but as the July 31 trade deadline approaches, the SF Giants won 17 out of their last 20 games and have become legit Wild Card contenders during their hot streak.

Pablo Sandoval
Image: Pablo ‘Panda’ Sandoval of the SF Giants celebrates after hitting a walk-off home run to defeat the Cubs at Oracle Ballpark in San Francisco. (Chris Victorio/SF Examiner)

The Giants moved into second place in the NL West while riding their epic hot streak. With a playoff berth within reach, will the Giants hold onto Bumgarner (5-7, 3.66 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)?

The NL Wild Card is wide open with every team in the NL, except the lowly Miami Marlins, have a legit shot at qualifying for the playoffs. The NY Mets are only 7 games off the Wild Card with 11 teams vying for two coveted spots.

NL WILD CARD
Washington Nationals 53-46
St. Louis Cardinals 53-47
———
Philadelphia Phillies 53-48
Milwaukee Brewers 53-50
SF Giants 52-50

The Milwaukee Brewers are desperate for a starter after their ace Brandon Woodruff went on the IL for the next 6 weeks with an oblique strain.

The Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, and Houston Astros are all leading their divisions, but they would like an opportunity to upgrade at the back end of their rotations. Or at the least, block an opponent from acquiring a crafty lefty like Madison Bumgarner with great stats in October.

The NY Yankees have plenty of minor league prospects to ship to San Francisco, but GM Brain Cashman has been overly cautious to gamble or over pay on pitchers this season. The Boston Red Sox are about to face the Yankees for 8 games over the next two weekends. They’re not exactly dunzo, but the defending champs will need Bumgarner’s help if they want to catch the surging Oakland A’s or Cleveland Indians in the AL Wild Card.

Giants Streaking

The SF Giants are the hottest team in baseball right now. No other team has scored more runs (approximately 7 per game) in July. The offensive outburst coincided with a streak of 17 victories over their last 20 games during their hot streak.

Legendary Bay Area sportswriter, Ray Ratto, recently penned a hysterical feature for Deadspin titled “The Red-Hot Giants Are Ruining Everything For Everybody“.

The Giants are also winning games in dramatic fashion. Good teams don’t sweat it when they’re behind late in a game. They know they’ll figure something out in the 8th or 9th inning.

The Giants completed four walk-off victories in the last six games. Last night, Pablo “Panda” Sandoval crushed a homer in the bottom of the 13th inning. The Giants keep winning and defeated the first place Cubbies 5-4.

On the Road: San Diego, Philly, Colorado

The Giants already pulled off a four-game sweep of the Rockies and they’re about to sweep the Cubs.

The Giants hit the road for nine tough away games. They face the upstart San Diego Padres with Fernando Tatis, Jr., plus the Phillies and Rockies. Eleven teams are in the Wild card hunt at this point, so every game matters.

If they believe they can win, the Giants retain Madison Bumgarner. If not, then they’ll probably trade Bumgarner to the AL and far away from a potential NL contender.

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