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Giants

CBS Sports Blog: Will Giants’ Easy Schedule Lead To Winning The West?

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Aubrey Huff picks up his broken bat after getting thrown out.  The Giants have dropped the first two games of the three-game series against the Houston Astros, the worst team in the majors. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

Aubrey Huff picks up his broken bat after getting thrown out. The Giants have dropped the first two games of the three-game series against the Houston Astros, the worst team in the majors. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

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By Michelle Dingley

The Giants have an easy schedule for the rest of the season, but that doesn’t mean they can coast to the top of the NL West.  The Giants have had a tough time beating “easy” teams.  For proof, look no further than Friday’s game, when the lowly Astros shut out the Giants 6-0.  Watching that game, it seemed counterintuitive that the Giants are defending World Champions and the Astros are the worst team in baseball.  Luckily, the Diamondbacks are the only team with a winning record that the Giants will face over the rest of the regular season.  That sounds promising, but the D-backs also have an easy schedule.  They will only play 8 more games against winning teams (2 against the Braves and 6 against the Giants).  Both teams will mostly face teams from the weak NL West down the stretch.  Which of these division foes has the advantage?

Here is the Giants’ schedule and their opponents’ winning percentage as of August 20:

End of August:

  • 2 more at Astros (.328)
  • 2 vs. Padres (.449)
  • 4 vs. Astros (.328)
  • 3 vs. Cubs (.440)

September:

  • 3 vs. D-backs (.552)
  • 3 at Padres (.449)
  • 3 vs. Dodgers (.460)
  • 3 vs. Padres (.449)
  • 4 at Rockies (.460)
  • 3 at Dodgers (.460)
  • 3 at D-backs (.552)
  • 3 vs. Rockies (.460)

Here is the same for the D-backs:

End of August:

  • 2 more at Braves (.587)
  • 4 at Nationals (.448)
  • 3 vs. Padres (.449)
  • 3 vs. Rockies (.460)

September:

  • 3 at Giants (.532)
  • 3 at Rockies (.460)
  • 4 vs. Padres (.449)
  • 3 at Dodgers (.460)
  • 3 at Padres (.449)
  • 3 vs. Pirates (.472)
  • 3 vs. Giants (.532)
  • 3 vs. Dodgers (.460)

The Giants, currently 67-59 (.532), will play 36 more games against opponents with an average winning percentage of .449.  Looking only at that statistic, the Giants should win 20 games.  That would end their season with a 87-75 record (.537). 

The D-backs will face slightly tougher opposition than the Giants. Arizona, now 69-56 (.552), have 37 games left against opponents winning at a rate of .475, putting them on track to win 19 more games.  Their final record would be 88-74 (.543).  If this is so, the D-backs would win the West by a one-game margin. 

The Giants seem to have a greater advantage when it comes to the home-road split.  They will finish the season with 21 home games and 15 road games.  Their home-field advantage has diminished from earlier in the season, with their winning percentage shrinking to .583 in San Francisco.  The Giants currently have a losing record on the road (.485).  Using only these stats, the Giants should win 12 home games and 7 games away from AT&T Park.  That would give them a 86-76 record, one game worse than previously calculated, despite the favorable home-road split. 

The D-backs will play 19 of their final games at home and 18 on the road.  They are .581 at home and .524 on the road.  They could be expected to win 11 home games and 9 road games, creating a 89-73 final record.  That is one game better than estimated by their opponents’ records.  By this analysis, the D-backs would make the playoffs by 3 games. 

The Giants need to pick up the pace.  They can’t keep doing what they are doing, because that is the recipe for a second-place team.  They need to win and keep winning.  They need to improve both at home and on the road.  They cannot skate passed these so-called easy teams.  Even ball clubs that are already eliminated from the playoffs can be trouble.  The Astros, for example, are packed with former minor leaguers who have something to prove.  We need to play our best ball down the stretch.  The good news is that we are not impossibly far behind the D-backs in the West.  We are capable of making up the ground we have lost over the past three dismal weeks.  We need to remind ourselves what we seem to have forgotten: we are the World Champions.  Now let’s start playing like it.

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