Second-half schedules for NL contenders 

July, 8, 2012

Joey VottoJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesIf Joey Votto alone can't carry the Reds to a division title, their schedule could help.
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.

1. Cincinnati Reds

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.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates

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.