San Francisco Giants: Upcoming Schedule Could Make or Break Season

Zack FarmerCorrespondent IJuly 13, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 12:  National League All-Star Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants hits a double in the seventh inning of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants start the second half of the season three games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.

But does anyone believe the D-Backs or the Rockies have a realistic shot to catch the Giants?


The only reason I say this is the Giants' upcoming schedule.

Sure, they start with the Padres and Dodgers out the break but they better take advantage of that because beginning July 22, San Francisco will play 20 out of 26 games against teams at or above .500, which includes the Phillies, Braves and Brewers.

San Francisco will travel to Atlanta for a four-game set against the team with the second best ERA in the NL and a team that swept a different four-game set Giants.

The Giants will face the Phillies, who have the best ERA in the NL, seven times and in those seven have a good chance at seeing Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee at least once apiece.

Unlike a lot of teams, the Braves and Phillies have a reason to have a chip on their shoulders in regards to the Giants.

Both feel they were robbed of something last season after the Giants rolled through both teams.

The Braves could make the case they were a Brooks Conrad away from the NLCS. The Phillies underestimated the Giants, but don't expect that this time around.

They will also see the Pirates, Reds and D-Backs.

Being the defending World Series champions, leaves a target on your back and this is the biggest test.

This is the toughest part of the Giants' 2011 schedule. All of these series are possible playoff matchups.

Could this stretch be a telling sign for the postseason?

I think so.

The Giants have struggled to score runs all season and if by July 31 they haven't figured out how to do it consistently against tougher competition, look for the Giants to make at least one move to help out that problem.

Pablo Sandoval and Nate Schierholtz have been incredible over the past couple of weeks and have been the catalysts for the offense but if their production continues, look for teams to start pitching around them.

Seriously, would you pitch to either of them if you could face Aubrey Huff or Miguel Tejada?

Didn't think so.

The Giants have struggled even more than last year to score runs and have had a huge power outage from a year ago.

When you think about last year's team with Torres, Uribe, Huff, Posey and Burrell added a ton of punch which this team is missing.

Burrell, Huff and Torres are a shell of their 2010 selves and if scoring runs continues to be a problem and the Giants do not make a move, they probably still win the division but advancing once there, I would find hard to believe.

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Zack Farmer is a freelance reporter who has written for the San Francisco Examiner,, Bay Area News Group and