Originally written on The Giants Cove  |  Last updated 10/29/14
The 2013 season opening schedule for the World Champion San Francisco Giants looked like the it was put together as part of a blind tasting of Walmart brand vodkas. That might explain why the winners of the 2012 World Series, a) opened on the road in Los Angeles (I suppose because Modesto doesn't have an MLB team); b) were almost immediately sent on another road trip, this time to the frozen north (Chicago and Milwaukee); and, c) have an early stretch of 19 games and one off day. Welcome to the top of the MLB heap. Now pick up your gear and walk through the snow to the visiting dugout. The good news is the Giants converted their first 13 games into a 9-4 record thanks in large part to being on the right side of 6 games decided by 2 runs or less and throwing three shutouts at, variously, the Dodgers, the Cardinals, and the Rockies. As the ancient cliche goes, great teams are made in large part by dominating lesser teams throughout a given season. Play the real good teams head-to-head and hope for the best, but pound the bad teams to pad your win column. There are few teams in the game worse than the Chicago Cubs (61-101 in 2012) and the Colorado Rockies (64-98 in 2012). In fact, I'll go out on a limb and openly identify the Houston Astros as the only team worse than the Rockies and Cubs. (Although the Miami Marlins are on a mission to make the Cubs look good.)  San Francisco played 7 of their first 13 games against Chicago and Colorado and came out the other end of those contests 6-1. Put a check next to "old baseball cliche". They got shut out by Clayton Kershaw in the season opener in LA then proceeded to teach the Dodgers the Giants Way in the final two games of the 3 game set. Put a check by next to "must beat the Dodgers". That made losing two of three at home to the St. Louis Cardinals palatable. Especially considering Barry Zito's brilliant 1-0 home opener win-- Zito went 7 scoreless innings giving up 3 hits and 3 walks with four strike-outs. Three other highlights at the start of the 2013 season should be noted: > Madison Bumgarner's dominating win in LA-- 8 scoreless innings pitched, 2 hits, no walks and 6 SOs; > Hunter Pence in the batter's box at top of the 9th inning in Chicago. Giants down 7-6, with two outs and two strikes on Pence. Then Pence homers to tie the game, which the Giants would win in the 10th; > rookie Nick Noonan's two-run single in the 6th inning of the same game against the Cubs that gave San Francisco its first lead of the day. As always, "runs produced" will be the #1 critical measure of this team throughout the season. San Francisco put up a nice two week offensive burst with 61 runs scored, placing them the middle of the NL pack at 7th overall. The question will be, can the Giants average at least 4.5 runs per game to keep their dominating pitching in play. In the first 13 games of the season they're averaging 4.69 runs per game; in 2012 San Francisco average 4.43 runs per game. Somewhere in between those numbers lies a very important category: Just Enough to Win.

Lovie Smith denies Bucs tanked to secure #1 pick in 2015 Draft

Report: Jets will fire Rex Ryan, GM John Idzik on Monday

Braxton Miller has 'expressed interest' in Duke transfer?

Jim Harbaugh, 49ers mutually part ways

Mike Wallace benched for disciplinary reasons

Browns owner sends stern message to Johnny Manziel


Report: Ray Allen is leaning toward retirement

Ravens clinch playoff spot

DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant set Cowboys records in win

Report: Browns feel Josh Gordon 'has to go'

Jets contacted Rex Ryan's agent about replacements for him

Justin Gilbert inactive after being late to team meeting

WATCH: Mike Tomlin goes after Reggie Nelson after game

WATCH: Ndamukong Suh steps on Aaron Rodgers

Nation's top recruit says he won't follow Jim Harbaugh

Eric Decker's wife was concerned about hubby's groin

WATCH: Lamar Miller has longest run in Dolphins history

WATCH: Pats fans serenade Pete Frates with 'Happy Birthday'

Harbaugh rumors affecting Mich. basketball ticket prices?

WATCH: Dez Bryant burns Redskins defender for TD

Detroit bar offering free food, booze if Lions beat Packers

Jameis Winston: I would throw in Richard Sherman's direction

WATCH: Nebraska safety pukes on field, keeps playing

WATCH: Nyquist holds puck for 28 seconds, scores OT winner

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

WATCH: Suh steps on Aaron Rodgers

Browns owner sends message to Manziel

Ray Allen leaning toward retirement?

Ravens clinch playoff spot

Murray, Bryant set team records

Pats fans serenade Pete Frates

Browns to part ways with Josh Gordon?

Manziel was late after throwing party?

Amari Cooper not a fan of New Orleans

Harbaugh to Mich. is done deal

WATCH: Jennifer Lawrence supports Louisville with chant

Did Bielema do ‘Horns Down’?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.