Now it's the Giants turn, they get to be home for 9 games, first against the Reds, then D-backs, and lastly against the fading D-Rox. The Phillies are now our most immediate concern since they took the wild-card lead from us, and they get 4 at home against the suddenly competitive Astros, who are 6-4 in their last 10 games, before heading on the road for 7 games, including a makeup game in Colorado on September 2nd. They will go almost a month without a day off, last one on August 16th, next one on September 9th, though luckily for them, they can bring up a lot of players on September 1st, to give some rest.
It should also be the Cards' turn to have a tough stretch, they have 17 games on the road over the next 20 games, though the teams will not be all tough, in fact, some easy teams: Pirates, Nationals, Astros, then home against Reds, before road for Brewers and Braves. The Cards have only been 26-31 on the road, so the Giants will need to get some separation from them during this stretch.
And the Giants will have a bit of a home advantage vs. our two most immediate rivals for the wild card over the rest of the season (games remaining at home and road):
Team - H - R
Giants - 21 - 16
Phillies - 17 -22
Cards - 17 -24
If the teams play according to their current winning percentages at home and road, the Phils will end up with 91 wins, the Giants 90 wins, and the Cards 89 wins. I would note that this does not account for strength of schedule, but is probably close enough with so few games left. So the Giants will need to step it up if they hope to make the playoffs via the Wild Card.
Game 1: Edinson Volquez vs. Cain
Reds: Volquez was hit hard in his last start, allowing six hits and five runs to the D-backs. The outing came on the heels of three consecutive one-run starts, during which Volquez looked like the dominant pitcher he was prior to his injury.
Giants: Cain allowed five runs in six innings last Wednesday at Philadelphia, but second baseman Mike Fontenot's fielding error made three of those runs unearned. Cain has upheld his reputation as a workhorse by averaging a staff-high 107.6 pitches per game.Volquez has faced the Giants once in SF before and shut them down pretty well; that was in 2008 season. But that was before we had Torres, Huff, Posey, and probably Sandoval too. Generally, he has done well on the road (4.16 ERA) but Cain has done even better at home (3.15 ERA) and that is also his ERA against the Reds in SF as well. On top of that, Volquez's only really good game was his first start after getting off the DL, he might have had a nice streak of one-run starts, but his peripherals were pretty bad with a lot of walks. He has had 2 DOM starts, 3 DIS starts, out of 7 starts.
Cainer has been generally good in the second half and tends to do better in second half, the Phils are just a good offensive team. I would lean towards Cain for this game: Volquez has been on and off all season, so it could be a tough game or it could be a short outing for Volquez, but either way, Cain should have a nice start, given his good history against the Reds and that he pitches better at home than on the road.
Reds: Wood returned from a brief stint in the Minors to post a solid start, throwing 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a win over Arizona. His previous outing, made with Triple-A Louisville, lasted two shutout innings, during which he allowed three hits.
Giants: In one of the best starts of his career, Sanchez allowed only two hits, both by Shane Victorino, while pitching into the ninth at Philadelphia. His victory ended a streak of 14 consecutive outings without a win by Giants starters.
Reds: So far, so good for Bailey in his return from injury. In two starts, he's thrown 13 innings, allowing seven hits and one run. His most recent outing, a 3-1 win over the Dodgers, lasted seven innings, during which he allowed one run and fanned six.
Giants: To be announced.