The Colorado Rockies are a big reason why. In 11 games since the start of August, the Giants have gone 9-2 against the Rockies with two more remaining in the series. Largely thanks to those nine wins, San Francisco has built an 8 1/2-game cushion in the division and it is only a matter of a time before the team clinches a playoff spot, barring any historic collapse.
The odds of that trend continuing are in the Giants' favor Wednesday night with ace Matt Cain taking the mound against Tyler Chatwood, who has struggled mightily in three September outings.
Cain is 4-2 with a 3.34 ERA in his last 10 starts, which includes a victory against Colorado on Aug. 11 when he gave up two earned runs in 7 1/3 innings. Although he defeated Arizona in his last start and earned his 14th win of the season, which ties a personal best, he wasn't pleased with his outing.
"Maybe I got a little too fine with some pitches instead of using the advantage of being ahead in the count," he said.
He'll be opposed by Chatwood, who is 0-1 with an 8.49 ERA in September.
The righty surrendered four runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Padres his last time out. Despite the rough outing, the Rockies won that game, 7-4, and Chatwood avoided the loss.
"We won; that's all that matters," Chatwood said. "I kept us in the game."
Rockies: Winter ball a possibility for Chacin
Jhoulys Chacin, who missed more than three months with a nerve issue in his chest and has made just 11 starts, could pitch winter ball in Venezuela, depending on how he makes adjustments down the stretch.
After his last start when he went five strong innings, Chacin said winter ball would be a possibility.
Pitching coach Bo McLaughlin said it might not be necessary if he continues to pitch well.
"The first game he came back, everything was good timing, good rhythm and make a lot of good pitches," McLaughlin said. "Then he started feeling better and better, but he got out of his delivery. But last night whenever he got out of his delivery, he made the adjustments to get back. He did it three times last night and was excellent. If he can keep on doing that, I don't know whether he needs a whole lot of [winter] innings. We'll have to see how he goes."
Giants: Blanco back in action
Gregor Blanco, who has been out with a sore shoulder, made his first appearance since Saturday when he came in to replace Xavier Nady in left field in the seventh inning Tuesday.
Blanco went 1-for-1 with a double and a run. He could soon be back in the starting lineup going forward.
"[He] could possibly start [Thursday], will check him out after he does his activities out in the field and see where he's at," said manager Bruce Bochy.
Cain threw 34 pitches in the first inning of his last start and gave up five walks while lasting two batters into the sixth inning.
The Giants went 3-2 against the Rockies in the first half.
Chatwood is 1-1 in his last two starts against the Giants, giving up just one earned run in 8 1/3 innings.