SAN FRANCISCO -- Does participation in the Wild Card Game help or harm a team's momentum? Giants manager Bruce Bochy, as experienced and accomplished as he is, can't quite tell.
Bochy's ballclub has taken different routes through the postseason in its last three appearances. In 2010, the Giants won the National League West on the regular season's final day. Then they cruised to the 2012 division title, clinching it with 10 games remaining. San Francisco won the World Series both times.
This year, the Giants had to win the NL Wild Card Game at Pittsburgh to prolong their season. And it just so happens that Kansas City, which concluded its four-game sweep of Baltimore in the American League Championship Series on Wednesday, also was a Wild Card Game survivor.
"It's a good question," Bochy said. "I can't really say it does give you an advantage."
But Bochy modified his stance slightly after pondering the issue briefly.
"Yeah, there's probably something about having to play that Wild Card Game," he said. "You know there's no lull in your play and there's no drop in your guard. You're not taking time off, so there could be something to that."
If Bochy had a preference, he said that clinching a postseason berth sooner than later is more advantageous because it allows a team to "kind of get things in order," such as its pitching rotation.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.