The San Francisco Giants swept the Colorado Rockies in a four-game series and start a three-game series in Los Angeles on Tuesday needing another sweep heading to Arizona on Friday night for three games.
The Giants made their bed in August and have had to sleep in it. It seemed that they were going to do just that, sleep through the remainder of the season until a week ago when their wake-up call came. Whether that wake-up call came a few weeks too late will be determined over the next seven days, but the Giants current eight-game winning streak has at least provided some drama as the final full week of baseball begins.
I am trying not to read too much into the sweep of Colorado, the Rockies long ago gave up on 2011 and Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton didn't play in the series. The Rockies did trot out some young, talented starting pitchers in the series and the Giants did something that they had not done all year; they were patient, they waited for a good pitch to hit and when they got mistakes, they took advantage of them. Granted, that is what a good team is expected to do, but the Giants have not done it at all in 2011.
The Giants now ride a wave of momentum into Los Angeles and will run head first into their nemesis and Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday night. The Giants have not won a game against Kershaw in over a year even though they have had Tim Lincecum opposing him three times this season.
If it wasn't do or die time, the Giants could hope for two out of three in Los Angeles and then move on. The Giants do not have that luxury though and will have to find a way to beat Kershaw.
If the offensive awakening Giants' fans have witnessed over the past week is for real, Kershaw won't be a problem. The Giants will have to not let his recent dominance over them affect their approach to the game.
Bruce Bochy will have to work his magic, creating matchups that work to their favor and Tim Lincecum will have to show Kershaw what it takes to win that Cy Young Kershaw is going for this year.
With Arizona playing at home against a still free falling Pittsburgh Pirates team, the Giants will be lucky to go into the weekend set still down only five games. The Goal for the week should be to still have a shot on Friday evening.
The Giants would then have an opportunity to go head to head against the Diamondbacks, basically for the NL West title. If they can force that scenario, I'd be very interested to see how many Giants fans are in attendance in Arizona this weekend.
One game at a time though and this first one will be the toughest of them all.