SAN FRANCISCO -- Since stunning Walker Buehler and the Dodgers on "Sunday Night Baseball" on Sept. 5, the Giants have won 10 of 13 games. They swept a road trip through Denver and Chicago, split with the desperate San Diego Padres, and took two of three from the Atlanta Braves, the team likely to win the NL East.
Over those 13 games, they have outscored their opponents 89-48. They have hit 25 homers and combined for a .384 on-base percentage. Their staff has a 3.33 ERA during the stretch.
That's a lot of good baseball, and yet, the Giants gained absolutely no ground in the race for the NL West title.
Two weeks ago, they were one game up on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Today, they are one game up. The Dodgers just ... won't ... go ... away, a frustrating trend for the fan base, and even for the clubhouse. After Sunday's game, Kris Bryant smiled as he tried to sum it all up.
"I feel like we've been playing great baseball, going on a win streak. But they've just been matching us, and that's annoying," he said. "It's annoying that both of us are playing (well) at the same time, but hey, people expected the Dodgers to be doing that. We've just got to keep our heads down and try our best not to scoreboard-watch and just focus on winning our ballgames and let the rest take care of itself. Just rely on the experience of everybody in this clubhouse to get us through the rest of this season, hopefully on the top of the division."
The season is down to the final two weeks, and this looks like a race that will come down to the final weekend, possibly the final day or even a 163rd game. While anyone rooting for the Giants is surely tired of the Dodgers keeping pace, the same is true on the other side.
Since losing that final game at Oracle Park, the Dodgers have also taken 10 of 13. All they've seen is days get ticked off the calendar, which is a benefit for the team that's ahead by a game.
The Dodgers begin this week at Coors Field, where the Giants got an impressive sweep earlier this month, and then visit the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks. The Giants take on a reeling Padres squad and then take their own trip to Coors.
The schedule next week would seem to slightly benefit the Giants, who host the Diamondbacks and then the Padres. The Dodgers also host the Padres, but finish their season with three at home against the Milwaukee Brewers, the third-best team in the NL. That series could come with a twist, though.
The Brewers are about to clinch the NL Central and should be locked into their seed by the final weekend, so they likely won't have anything to play for those final three games. The Giants could encounter something similar. If they take care of business these next three games at Petco Park, the odds are good that the Padres are eliminated before they get to Oracle Park for the final weekend.
It's so close at the top of the West right now that every break could matter over the next two weeks and be the difference between winning the division and having to play a tough Wild Card game. After Sunday's loss, which cost the Giants a game in their NL West lead, Anthony DeSclafani explained the "super intense" atmosphere during games and said that giving up just two runs in six innings felt like a failure, even though that's a good day for a pitcher.
"Everything is magnified," DeSclafani said. "But we're good at putting games behind us and worrying about the game at hand, so I know we'll do that here on Tuesday."