The race to win the National League West will be a fun one to watch ... maybe. The Giants, behind a bizarre extra-innings victory on Saturday night, took over first place from the Dodgers. They're a much hotter -- and more talented -- team, and they could potentially run away with the division.
Then there's this: the second-half schedule favors the Giants. In fact, San Francisco has a) the easiest remaining schedule of all teams in the division, and b) the most home games of any team in the division.
Over at Eye on Baseball, Dayn Perry crunched the numbers and figured out who's got the easiest schedule the rest of the way based on opponents' winning percentage.
The Giants have the second-easiest schedule in the National League (and the second-easiest schedule in baseball, actually), as San Francisco's opponents have just a .464. The Giants are also tied with the Reds, and behind only the Pirates.
Elsewhere in the NL West, the Diamondbacks have a .475 winning percentage, the Dodgers have a .485 winning percentage, the Rockies .490, and the Padres .498. Of course, the Padres have a harder schedule because they're bad and the other teams they play the most -- aka those in the division -- are much better. But still, that's a big difference between the Giants and Dodgers, relative to their respective first halves.
The Giants also hold an advantage in terms of playing the most games at home: they get 39 contests at AT&T Park in the second half of 2012, the most in the division. It's not a crazy big advantage, as the Dodgers and Rockies have 38 home games, while the Padres and Diamondbacks have 37 games at home in the second half.
But every little bit counts in a heated playoff race, and the fact that the Giants draw the easiest schedule and play the most games at home in the second half are all the more reason to believe that they could win the NL West this season.