The Crystal (base)Ball: Giants vs Marlins Preview

The Giants trek Tuesday to beautiful, scenic Miami to face the Florida Marlins. The warm weather and lack of rain will be a nice change of pace from the daily tempestuous weather that seems to haunt Pac Bell Park.

This series will be a testament to Benito Santiago and Yorvit Torrealba. With the Marlins base-stealing like there is no tomorrow, both of their arms need to be well rested and accurate. Lucky for us Monday is a travel day.

Jason Schmidt faces Carl Pavano Tuesday night. While Jason Schmidt attempts to stay in the running for most strikeouts in the NL, look for him to stay in his usual, immaculate, power-pitching form. Carl Pavano, however, has some things to worry about. A groundball pitcher with a good- when-it's-working cutter, Pavano is slow to throw guys out went bunting and in his last game, only managed 3 innings. And then there's Barry Bonds, who is 5-5 lifetime with 2 HR and 3 2B's. And J.T. Snow, who is 4-9 with a triple. Should Rich Aurilia continue Sunday's 4-4 effort into Florida, walking Bonds may not be a possibility and we may see him hit.

After a great outing last Friday, Damian Moss takes on Josh Beckett. The only threat to Damian Moss is Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez, who is 2-2 with 2 2B's, but Rodriguez is 2-14 in his last 4 games. Should his corners be working for him Wednesday, Moss should have no problem lasting 6-7 innings. Beckett is a tough pitcher who will mostly rely on his 96-98 four-seamer and a rainbow curve. He gets frustrated so the more pressure, the less he thrives.

Finally, Wonder Rookie Kurt Ainsworth takes the mound Thursday against Brad Penny. Look out for the sinker Penny throws often and with confidence and for a 81 mph curve after a mid-90's fastball. Ainsworth, who is steadily bringing down his ERA from the forgettable outing against LA April 20th is getting through 100 pitches relatively unscathed and is looking to keep his earned runs down and get through batters quicker (in his last game against the Reds, Ainsworth threw 102 pitches in only 4 1/3 innings).

Tim Worrell and Joe Nathan are still on the case as we enter May baseball- putting up fantastic numbers (2.12 ERA, 8 saves, 14 SO; 0.00 ERA, 17 SO and BAA of .149). Look for Alou to continue to insert Felix Rodriguez into the 8th inning spot.

The keys to this game are going to be on the pitchers and the catchers. CATCH THESE GUYS!! The Marlins are base-stealing fanatics and will take any and every opportunity to run. Also, Edgardo Alfonzo and Rich Aurilia need to show continued success- while both were great on Sunday, were their bats really warming up or was it a fluke? How will Aurilia's contacts react to the humid Florida weather? Only time will tell.

Jillian Bailles d'Err writes for 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

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