The San Francisco Giants‘ inability to play high-quality baseball for the better part of June and July seemingly spelled disaster for a season that promised intrigue after the club’s blistering 42-21 first-half surge. The Giants have gotten back to doing what enabled them to win 94 games in 2012, though, which is beating up on inferior opponents.
They did it against the lowly New York Mets in a weekend wraparound series, winning three of four games to narrow the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ NL West lead to just 1.5 games, and will aim to continue pummeling bad teams down the stretch. The Giants know what’s at stake. They’ve been there before. It’s going to take at least 90 wins to earn a bid in the 2014 MLB playoffs, which means they need to finish the regular season 29-21 or better.
For the Giants to reach the 90-win plateau, they simply need to upend teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres, who make up a combined 21 of San Francisco’s final 50 games. While it’s true the six remaining contests between the Giants and Dodgers will likely determine which team wins the West, the orange and black should at least secure a spot in the NL Wild Card Game if they’re able to post a 15-6 mark against divisional bottom-feeders.
The Giants somehow find themselves in an advantageous position as the 2014 campaign begins to dwindle, despite previously dissolving a 9.5-game division lead in the span of five weeks and recently getting swept at home against the Dodgers. San Francisco will play 21 more games against teams with winning records this season whereas the Dodgers will play their next 13 games against clubs of the same variety.
Although the Giants face difficult challenges against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers and playoff-hopeful Kansas City Royals this week, they have a clear-cut chance to make up some serious ground in the division and potentially overtake the Dodgers for the second time since the All-Star break.
The back-and-forth teeter totter otherwise known as the NL West is going to flaunt an intriguing fight between two of baseball’s most hated rivals for the season’s remainder. The Giants’ weak schedule gives them a chance to soon retake the lead. The return of center fielder and team catalyst Angel Pagan couldn’t be more timely for San Francisco.
The Giants aren’t the favorites to win the West, but they hold a slight edge over the Dodgers in non head-to-head action, courtesy of unbalanced scheduling.