The Crystal (base)Ball: Reds vs Giants Preview

All the little chicks with the crimson lips go....er.... wrong city in Ohio. In any case, that other city in Ohio, Cincinnati, is sending their baseball team over to our little piece of heaven. The Giants look to shake off their recent trip to loser-dom (they lost their second series in a row) by giving the Reds hell.

The first match up of the series pits rookie-wonder Kurt Ainsworth against former reliever Danny Graves. Graves likes to spot the corners with his swooping slider and mid 90's fastball. In his 5 starts this season, he's only managed to squeak out of the 5th inning once. Barry Bonds is 4-5 against the guy with a homerun; combine that with his 2 shots to either side of the outfield the last time he was pitched to and it's time to cue up the chicken dance. The Giants have a bit of an upper hand, as the Reds have never faced Ainsworth in league play.

Saturday's afternoon game matches Jesse Foppert and Paul Wilson. Wilson is a MAJOR sinkerball pitcher. Everything he throws drops like a bad habit. Keep your eyes on the prize and mind the swing-throughs. If you think it's going to stay in the strike zone, it probably won't. Again, Cincinnati has never faced Foppert- a potential bonus. Look for Foppert's confidence to continue to soar after he builds on the great game against the Phillies.

Finally, Sunday sees Old Reliable, Kirk Reuter against Chris Reitsma. This could be Edgardo Alfonzo's game: he's 4-8 with a double and a HR. Reitsma relies on his 95 mph sinker, almost entirely too much, and is very iffy when it comes to stamina. The Reds' greatest hitter on Woody, Barry Larkin, will still be shaky, if even in the lineup, so that is one bullet he gets to avoid.

Hitters who are on for the Reds lately have been Jose Guillen (2 HR, 6RBI in last two games) and Aaron Boone (1 HR, 2 2B's, 5-9).

To take the series, look for Barry Bonds to continue to re-solidify his swing and for the right side (Snow, Durham and Cruz Jr.) to continue to show amazing defense. Key to these games will be the continued success of the rookie pitchers (Ainsworth, Foppert and Joe Nathan, who is on fire) and the increasing consistency of Marquis Grissom's bat (since he's not trying so hard to swing for the fences).

Jillian Bailles d'Err writes for SFDugout.com and has been a Giants fan since 1988. She currently writes the column 'The Crystal (Base)Ball', a preview into upcoming Giants series. If you'd like to say hey, or comment about how amazingly insightful she is (or not), contact her at JayBird704@aol.com


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