Giants enter the defining stretch of their season: at Atlanta, home for Milwaukee and the Dodgers

By Morris Phillips

After today’s much-needed off day, the Giants play 16 games in 16 days, a stretch that will undoubtedly define their season that has them at 80-44, and in first place in the NL West.

What’s especially intriguing about the stretch is the “middle” 10 games against the Braves, Brewers and Dodgers–all three almost locks to qualify for the postseason just like the Giants. Each series will be a referendum on the Giants’ wildly successful formula thus far: can they continue to play home run ball against playoff-caliber pitching, and can their starting rotation stand up given the questions surrounding Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani and Johnny Cueto?

The series against the Dodgers will be the pair’s final regular season meetings. The season series is tied, 8-8 and each club will have just 25 games remaining after it concludes.

The Braves have won 15 of 17 and taken control of the NL East, leading by five games over the Phillies. The Giants will see two of the Braves’ best starters on Friday and Saturday in Max Fried and Drew Smyly.

The Brewers and Giants had an entertaining series in Milwaukee a couple of weeks back that saw the Giants pull out a couple of sneaky wins to capture that series. Since then, the Brewers have won 10 of 13 and still have a chance to capture the NL’s best won-loss record if the Giants or Dodgers falter.

The last seven games of the stretch–against the Brewers and Dodgers–will be at Oracle Park.

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