SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The calendar is about to flip to June and the Giants are sporting the best record and largest divisional lead in Major League Baseball. Those of us used to taking the playoff hunt down to the wire are asking, how long can they keep this up?
They came back three times to beat St. Louis Thursday night, making the Cards just the latest playoff-caliber home team stung by the visiting Giants. The Giants have already twice taken a series in Los Angeles and swept three in Atlanta. They are currently on pace to win more than 100 games, a feat they haven’t pulled off in more than a decade. So what potential pitfalls remain? Any team can lose to any other in MLB on any given day, but there are a few spots likely to cause a stumble. Here are our picks for the upcoming matchups worth circling:
Oakland A’s July 7-10th
With no major red flags on the June slate (let’s face it the Reds have fallen off a bit) the Giants next key series may be the week before the All-Star break against the cross-bay A’s. These could be the two best teams in baseball this year and the winner of this four game set will almost certainly close out the first half of the season with more mojo. In a just world we see this matchup again in the World Series.
@ Nationals August 22nd– 24th
The idea of playing any sport in D.C.’s August heat and humidity is just not Appealing. The fact that the Nationals have a roster loaded with talent and primed for the playoffs makes it even less so. Fortunately, they get to tune up for this series with a three-game set against the cupcake Cubbies.
@ Tigers September 5th-7th
The Tigers are a perennial playoff team at this point. Their pitchers are studs and they have some of the game’s most fearsome hitters. Trying to match up with Detroit after playing in the slugging Rockies in Colorado sounds like a bullpen’s worst nightmare. This could easily be the toughest remaining stretch on the schedule.
Vs. Dodgers September 12-14 AND @ LA 22-24th
It’s the last month of the season, and if Vegas oddsmakers know their stuff, the Division title could well be on the line for these games. The Dodgers have a larger payroll (than anyone, ever), bigger names and more celebrities in the stands. All the Giants players have on their side is those two little rings in their fingers. These two sets could be key to adding a third.