The Crystal (base)Ball: Expos vs Giants Preview

The San Francisco Giants take on the Montreal (San Juan, PR) Expos at Pac Bell Park for the next three days. The Montreal (Washington, DC) Expos come in after sweeping San Diego and Losing to LA What will Vlad and the boys in blue bring to SF?

In the Atlanta edition of Crystal (Base)Ball, I lamented about the tragedy of seeing Braves starter Russ Ortiz in that horrible uniform. I can say with all honesty that a similar sight in the form of Livan Hernandez in a Montreal (Portland) Expos does nothing for me. In the words of Bridget Jones' best friend Jude, "We do not wish him well, we do not wish him ill. We simply detach." Yay detachment!

But back to the actual baseball bit. Today's matchup has Damian Moss against Zach Day. Moss, who is somehow amazingly 5-0 despite his location problems, still manages through groundballs and double plays. There has been moderate hitting sucess against the Expos, but even in the face of adversity, Moss manages to come out unscathed. I don't expect today to be any different. The Expos have won every game but one that Day has started, but they have been aganst teams like San Diego and the Mets. He's been bailed out quite a bit by the relievers, so getting him into high pitch counts early will be beneficial. A groundball pitcher, look for the low fastball.

Tuesday pits wide-eyed Kurt Ainsworth against Tomo Ohka. Ainsworth, who has had 2 no decisions in the last two Giants wins he pitched, come in looking to pin one up in the win column. Ohka is a finesse pitcher with a spot-on curve. His pitches don't come in very fast, but he's shown stamina and when he wins, it's usually a big win (10-0 vs. the Mets, 12-5 vs. Padres, 4-0 vs. D-backs). He isn't big on the road and the longer an inning last, the better to smash him (guy only went .2 innings in a start against St. Louis: 31 pitches!!).

Thursday's finale is an afternoon game featuring 'Sexay' Jesse Foppert (as he's known among some circles ::wink::) and Claudio Vargas. Both rookies on the field who came up from AAA to replace pitchers this season, both are noted as power pitchers. Vargas has only one decision of his 3 starts (a loss) and has yet to go past 6 innings. Foppert, on the other hand, has progressively gotten better with every start. With 9 flyouts a game practically and an ERA that has dropped significantly from the 9 he achieved in his first start, Foppert looks to continue his path to success and to hold off now-middle reliever Ryan Jensen.

Rich Aurilia has been solid at the plate, showing patience at the plate. Barry Bonds seems to have corrected his swing and Benito Santiago is wobbling off the plate with homers daily. Neifi Perez has been sweet at the plate in the absence of Ray Durham and the Right Side still play defense like their lives were threatened. What is going to be key, I believe, in this series will be Marquis Grissom getting his bat to hit something other than deep fly balls.

Keep an eye Giants fans on Vladimir Guerrero. The guy is up for free agency and there has been talk about him becoming the Bonds successor (SF Chronicle, 5/11/2003). Lord knows the Montreal (Northern Virginia) Expos aren't going anywhere.

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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