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The Giants return to Citizens Bank Park on July 26, their first appearance there since clinching the NL Pennant last October.
If you told Giants manager Bruce Bochy in spring training that after the first half of the season his club would be 12 games over .500 and leading the division by three games, he'd not only take it, but he'd also probably be very pleased with that situation.
If you then told him that this would happen despite losing Buster Posey for the season and injuries to Pablo Sandoval, Barry Zito, Mark DeRosa and many others, he would probably be a little shocked.
But that's exactly where the Giants find themselves as they begin the second half. And looking at their schedule, they've got to like their chances for another postseason berth in 2011.
With most of the games remaining being against NL West opponents, the Giants will have a chance to distance themselves from the rest of the pack in their division, which is perhaps the weakest in baseball.
Possibly the most difficult stretch remaining will be an immediate test. The Giants go on the road beginning July 26 at Philadelphia, where they are sure to receive a "warm" reception from Phillies fans still smarting from San Francisco's six-game victory over Philadelphia to capture the NL pennant last October.
Fans aside, the Phillies have the best record in baseball and one of the best rotations to boot, with Roy Halladay anchoring a staff that includes fellow All-Stars Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, as well as Roy Oswalt.
San Francisco's test will continue after the three-game set at Citizens Bank Park. They then travel to Cincinnati to take on the Reds, another very talented club (especially offensively) that boasts the reigning NL MVP, Joey Votto, along with several other big hitters up and down the lineup.
When the Giants return home, it won't get much easier. San Francisco will then face the surprising second-place Arizona Diamondbacks, followed by the Phillies and the up-start Pittsburgh Pirates.
If the Giants can get through this 16-game stretch with their division lead in tact, they should be in good shape the rest of the way.