The Crystal (base)Ball: Twins vs Giants Series

Barry Bonds grins maniacally as he takes a few practice swings in the batter's box. Brad Radke looks anxious, spinning the ball in the palm of his hand and shaking off sign after sign. Bonds pays no attention; for as focused as he is, as disciplined as he is, his mind is on one man.

Torii Hunter

The 2002 All Star Game

That's right, folks! The Minnesota Twins drop in our fair ballpark for the first time ever in the first interleague play series. I love interleague play, if just to see all those wussy American League pitchers take a swing at the plate. All those over-paid designated hitters can do is watch. This time of the year makes me so happy, I could take out a QuesTec camera (or Stan Hirschbeck- whichever).

But enough of my babbling. Today's matchup finds Joe Mays pitching against Damian Moss. Mays has won the last 3 games he's pitched (W. Sox, A's, A's), despite giving up a total of 9 runs over those games. Mays will finesse you on the corners, but ultimately, it's his sinker that will get you swinging. Ray Durham, formerly of the AL, has an 11-36 record against Mays with 2 2B's. Also, Rich Aurilia should get boost - batters in the three spot have a .633 slugging percentage against him and you know Richie is looking for the fences. Moss has pitched once against the Twins and came away with a win, giving up only 2 hits and striking out 8 in his 7 shutout innings. Moss is coming off a routing of the Diamondbacks (it was a beautiful thing), so his confidence should be high.

Wednesday supposedly pits rookie Kurt Ainsworth against Brad Radke- however, Radke is appealing suspension for an incident in early may against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays- so while I will say that Radke has been taken to the house by Seattle in his last two starts and Durham (5 2B's, 2 HR), Neifi Perez (7-16), and Marquis Grissom (6-15) have hit well off of him, I won't go into detail. Ainsworth is back on the rise again after beating the Rockies in Coors and at home, showing durability, finesse and a surprising 12 SO's on the way. Ainsworth has never pitched against an American League team.

The last match up puts Jesse Foppert against Kyle Lohse. Lohse is 1-2 with 1 no decision against National League teams, and he's steadily improved over the season, going longer in games and walking very little. He comes off a win (7-2, CG) and a loss (0-6, 8 innings, 3 ER) against Seattle. Foppert, who has never seen an American League team, is coming off a close win against Colorado where he struck out 8 and lasted 7 innings.

Scott Eyre, who has been pitching like his job depended on it lately, has been solid in the past against some of Minnesota's prime players (Doug Mientkiewicz, Hunter, Jacque Jones) and I believe that his solid relief pitching is going to be a major key to this series. Also, Ray Durham will need to come through in this upcoming month: he's the only regular roster player that has seen most of the AL pitchers. It'll be up to him to set the tone. Look for Felix Rodriguez to continue exploring the joys of being a groundball pitcher.



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

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