OVERALL PREDICTION FOR THE SERIES: GIANTS
The defeat at Denver is still fresh in the minds of the Giants as they look for revenge against the Rockies, although it should be an easy job for the Giants to take the series from Colorado. The Rockies are a horrible team outside of Coors Field, and for a team who is used to playing at Coors, coming to Pac Bell Park is like walking straight into a nightmare, with the San Francisco Bay wind blowing in all kinds of directions. Coming off a day to rest, the Giants can easily take three games out of four, if not sweep, the Rockies. The Rockies are a solid offensive team, and they may come up with a win in Pac Bell. Both San Francisco and Colorado are coming into this series after sweeping their last series, both which were against NL West teams. The Rockies helped the Giants by pushing the Dodgers two and a half games behind the Giants in the NL West, but by sweeping Los Angeles and winning the previous series against the Giants at Coors Field, Colorado is quickly becoming the contender they were at the beginning of the season- as long as they play at Coors Field, that is. Kurt Aintsworth is up against Darren Oliver, a guy who the Giants had trouble hitting off of in Coors Field. Jesse Foppert is also sent to the mound in his second outing against the Rockies against a pitcher that the Giants have rarely seen. This is a change for Foppert, who has faced great veteran pitchers in his last few outings, not enabling him to extend his win record even after he pitches a great game. Kirk Rueter and Jason Schmidt are expected to have their good stuff in the bag and ready for the Rockies. Holding the home field, the Giants are also holding the advantage in this series, a big advantage in playing the Rockies.
Todd Helton (.342)
Mark Sweeney (.400)
JT Snow (.268)
Andres Galarraga (.371)
The six time Gold Glover JT Snow gives the Giants the advantage in defense on first base in almost every game. Todd Helton is an average first baseman with no Gold Gloves.
Offense: Rockies Todd Helton is one of the league's best hitters right now. Already with forty-four RBIs in the season, the Rockies depend on him to drive in runs. He had the hot hand in the Rockies' third game last series against the Dodgers with three homeruns and six RBIs, but again, that was in Coors Field. Andres Galarraga was sensational in the last meeting between these two teams. He may split starts with Snow. Going 3-4 against Oliver, Galarraga might get the start in the first game.
Ron Belliard (.317)
Brent Butler (.180)
Ray Durham (.303)
Neifi Perez (.284)
Ray Durham and Neifi Perez are part of an excellent defensive team, but Ron Belliard has come up with his share of great plays.
Ron Belliard has been a consistent hitter for the Rockies. He went 5-5 against the Dodgers in game three of their last series, and since he seems to be hot with his bat, he will be kept in the game for as long as he is needed. Brett Butler may get a start in one of the four games. On his return from injury, Ray Durham was a little rusty, but began to show signs of heating up in the last game of the two-game series against Arizona. Neifi Perez had a hot bat against Colorado. He and Galarraga performed phenomally against their former team in the last meeting at Coors Field.
Jose Hernandez (.256)
Rich Aurilia (.265)
Jose Hernandez has been lagging on the defensive end, but Aurilia continues his solid play at shortstop.
Career wise, Aurilia has the slim advantage over Hernandez, but recently Aurilia's been in a slump, with a only two hits in his last twenty six at bats and one RBI. Hernandez, on the other hand, has been fairly consistent. He has twenty-four RBIs compared to Aurilia's seventeen, but Aurilia finished off his night against Arizona with a base hit to drive in a runner, so hopefully this will be a sign of him getting back into his groove.
Greg Norton (.179)
Chris Stynes (.260)
Edgardo Alfonzo (.228)
Pedro Feliz (.239)
Both teams have a solid third baseman in each of these players. Being on the home field, Alfonzo and Feliz may have a slight advantage, but not by much at all.
The statistics for both teams are so similar it's almost scary. Pedro Feliz seems to have the best record when facing the Rockies as opposed to Alfonzo's .185 batting average against Rockies pitchers. There are strikeouts through the Giants thrid baseman, but neither Norton or Stynes has been very hot for Colorado, especially Norton with a batting average of .179.
Charles Johnson (.238)
Bobby Estalella (.203)
Benito Santiago (.325)
Yorvit Torrealba (.327)
Benito Santiago has the respect of all his pitchers and he is able to calm the younger pitchers down, which will be important for the Giants as they send two rookies to the mound in the series. Charles Johnson has a great throwing arm and does not have a difficult time throwing out runners who attempt to steal bases. This will be interesting because the Giants are trying to run more, so we'll have to see who wins: the Giants running game or Johnson's arm.
One man, two words: Benito Santiago. He has single handedly brought the Giants back into the win column with his hot hitting. Hitting is contagious, and after a long period of offensively slump, Santiago's hitting has rubbed off on some of the other Giants, giving them more of an offensive game. If he continues his efficiency at the plate batting behind Barry Bonds, then the Giants do not have anything to worry about. The combination of Bonds' on-base percentage and Santiago's hitting gives the Giants a solid part of the lineup. Charles Johnson, on the other hand, has been slumping for the Rockies. Bobby Estalella is even worse, hitting just .130 against Giants pitchers. Yorvit Torrealba has had past success against Jennings, so that may be the rest day that Santiago gets, but it will be difficult to sit a guy who's hitting everything that's thrown at him.
Larry Walker (.272)
Jose Cruz Jr (.274)
Ruben Rivera (.180)
This is a close one. Walker has won Gold Gloves in the past, but this year, Cruz has a better range factor and has been better defensively in general, so it goes to the Giants. However it is a close battle here, since Walker is not a bad defender, he is just getting older.
No matter how you look at it, Walker is the superior hitter, especially with his performance against the Giants pitchers. While his numbers against the Giants pitcher are inflated because of Coors field, he still hits Giants pitching well. Over his career, he's hit .351 at home, and.281 away. Neither average is bad, and consider that the .368 against the Giants involves both home and away games. He can hit the Giants. Cruz and Rivera haven't had much success against the Rockies either.
Preston Wilson (.296)
Marquis Grissom (.314)
Grissom has the advantage in terms of range and Gold Gloves. Even though Wilson does have a higher fielding percentage, he hasn't had any Gold Gloves in his career, and he does not have the range of Grissom. It is important for a center fielder to be able to move quickly around the outfield.
Wilson can't hit most of the Giants pitchers. He has below a .200 batting average against them. Grissom can hit the Rockies staff in general, and he had a successful series in Arizona. Wilson also performed poorly in the two games the Rockies played against LA, going 1 for 7 at Coors field.
Jay Payton (.302)
Barry Bonds (.299)
Bonds has eight Gold Gloves and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. While Payton is a little faster out there in left field, Bonds holds all the Gold Gloves in this defensive matchup, and is yet to make a single error this season.
Bonds has historically destroyed the Rockies pitches, and how he has handled Shawn Chacon is no exception. Payton isn't bad against the Giants pitchers, it's just that he's not as good as Bonds is against the Rockies, and of course not as good of a hitter as Bonds in general.
Darren Oliver (2-3, 4.85)
Jason Jennings (3-4, 5.64)
Aaron Cook(2-4, 5.22)
Shawn Chacon (7-2, 3.36)
Kurt Ainsworth (4-4, 4.10)
Jesse Foppert (2-4, 4.83)
Kirk Rueter (5-1, 3.70)
Jason Schmidt (4-1, 2.54)
Several Colorado starters have been blasted by the Giants completely, and Jason Schmidt has done very well against the Rockies. In every starter matchup, the Giants pitcher has a lower ERA. And also, the Giants starters generally do a good getting out Rockies batters. Three of their four starters that will pitch in this series have kept the Rockies battershitting below .250 against them, while none of the Rockies starters have done this to Giants hitters.
The Rockies do not have a good closer. Jose Jiminez has given up 41 hits in 24 and a third innings, for a BAA of .380. Tim Worrell of the Giants has given up 24 hits in 28 and a third innings, for a BAA of .222. The Giants in general have a stronger staff of relievers than the Rockies.
Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is one of the Two Giant Prophets for SFDugout.com. Sara can be reached at email@example.com
Jesse Radin writes for SFDugout.com and has been a Giants follower since 1996. The Blind Observer is Jesse's column covering all things baseball, though mainly about the Giants. Questions or comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org