- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
Yesterday, we ranked the second-half schedules for the American League contenders. Here's how our second-half schedule ranking stacks up for the National League contenders, ranked from the easiest schedule to the toughest.
Home/away: 42 of their final 77 games are at home.
Games left against teams over .500: 24.
Schedule notes: The Reds' first 10 games out of the All-Star break will be at home, and only three of Cincinnati's first 19 games after the break are against teams with records over .500.
The Big Finish: The Reds will have a season-ending challenge with a three-game series in Pittsburgh and three games in St. Louis.
Home/away: 38 of their final 77 games are at home.
Games left against teams over .500: 26.
Schedule notes: Remember how the Pirates had by far the hardest April schedule? Well, here's the payoff: Pittsburgh's first 19 games in the second half are against teams with records under .500, including a whole bunch with the Cubs and Astros.
The Big Finish: It won't be easy down the stretch -- the Pirates will likely face contenders in their final 10 games, with series against the Mets, Reds and Braves.
Home/away: 39 of their last 76 games are at home.
Games left against teams over .500: 27.
Schedule notes: Depending on how Arizona plays in the second half, the Giants could have an incredibly easy September. After having series with the Astros and Cubs at the end of August, the Giants have 13 games in September against the Padres and Rockies. San Francisco has three separate series with the Diamondbacks, who are currently under .500.
The Big Finish: The Giants' final six games are on the road -- at San Diego and at Los Angeles.
After looking at the second-half schedules for American League contenders, Buster Olney does the same with the National League. The Reds appear to have the easiest second-half road.