The Giants seem to be hitting their stride one week before the All-Star Break. They have won seven of their last ten games and have taken over first place in the NL West from the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. A big factor in passing Los Angeles was the three-game sweep of the Dodgers in San Francisco in which they shut out the Dodgers in all three games for the first time in franchise history. Let's recap the Giants season thus far by position starting with the starting rotation.

Starting Pitching: A
Midway through the season, San Francisco’s starting rotation is pitching to the best of their abilities. Matt Cain, who was chosen to his third All-Star team recently, has lived up to the monster contract he signed at the beginning of the season. Madison Bumgarner has thrived in the second spot in the rotation, posting a 10-4 record to go along with a 2.85 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. Ryan Vogelsong has shown that his All-Star season of 2011 was no fluke by posting a 7-3 record, 2.26 ERA, and 1.11 WHIP.

Barry Zito has recaptured some of his Cy Young-caliber form, posting a solid 6-6 record and 3.84 ERA from the fifth spot in the rotation. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there's two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. Lincecum has arguably been the weak link of the rotation for much of the season. He is currently 3-8, has an ERA of 5.60, and is just not the Lincecum that Giants fans have come to expect.

He hasn't been able to locate his fastball, which has led to his inability to get hitters out because they just aren't swinging at his off-speed stuff like years prior. However, in his last start against the Dodgers, Lincecum was masterful. He allowed two hits, zero runs, and struck out eight batters over seven innings in a 3-0 Giants win. Lincecum located his fastball, and was able to get batters to swing at his devastating off-speed pitches.

Though it was just one start, his outing against the Dodgers may have been the start he needed to get things back on track. If he is able to pitch like he is capable of pitching, the Giants can be a very scary team down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Here Is Part 1: The Bullpen