Both the Giants and the Rockies enter into the four-game series hot: the Rockies gave us a pretty sound thrashing when we were in Colorado (they took 3 of 4) and they absolutely pummeled the Dodgers.
But this is our house. And nobody comes into our house and runs us up the board.
So we begin with Kurt Ainsworth pitching against Darren Oliver. Ainsworth snapped his 4 games losing skid against Colorado in their only win at Coors last week. Considering how well Todd Helton is playing recently, coupled with his 2-3 hitting off of Kurt, I'd expect Ainsworth to not give a damn. Have you seen this kid pitch? He isn't afraid of anybody! This may get him into trouble (as it did in his starts against New York and Montreal) but it worked in Colorado and that's a hitter's ballpark. Oliver has a 0-3 record in Pac Bell, and with Jose Cruz Jr. getting hot (yeah, you heard me, I said he's getting hot!), his 5-18 batting with 2 HR may give him a bit of leverage.
Saturday's game deals Jesse Foppert with Jason Jennings. Foppert has pitched well, but (with the exception of Colorado) has been getting shortchanged by lack of run support. With the Giants' inconsistencies in that particular category (though you wouldn't know it against the D-backs), Foppert's mission will have to be groundouts and flyouts. Jennings, who the Giants rocked on his home turf will be looking for redemption. Expect him to rely on his sinker against the Giants to get him into a familiar rhythm. And of course, look for J.T. Snow to get his 7th double on Jennings lifetime (10th this season- could it be that JT's finding gaps or has he ::gasp:: quickened his pace?).
Sunday matches the man that Major League Baseball can't believe wins so many games (Kirk Rueter) against Aaron Cook. Woody continues to shock and amaze the baseball world with his skillz (that's right, skillz) and will probably come into the game pitching like he always does despite 6 runs in 4 innings against Colorado in their last meeting. Benito Santiago should have a fun time off of Cook: he's 2-3 lifetime, he's on a roll, and righties are hitting .319 off of Cook. Sounds good to me.
Monday's finale sees aces Jason Schmidt against Shawn Chacon. Chacon has won his last three starts against some good teams (Expos, Giants, and -sadly- the Dodgers). His most recent game showed what domination he could possible have in the future- 8 shutout innings with 7 SO's is pretty good for a guy pitching in Colorado. Schmidt, similarly, has been coming up roses (I mean, HELLO, did he dominate Arizona or what?). He's dominating pitchers with his fastball and breaker, taking 1st in opponent batting average (.191) and WHIP (0.94).
The players to watch in this series are probably going to be Todd Helton and Benito Santiago. Both are coming off of multi-homer games, Benito has an 11 games hitting streak going (more than half being multi-hit games) and Helton has been hitting like crazy since losing to the Dodgers last week (since: batting .482). Look for these guys to not slow down.
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 Giants1BChick@aol.com