The Crystal (base)Ball: Tigers vs Giants Preview

You may be sitting at home, intrigued by the Detroit Tigers, who the Giants will be meeting for three games. I mean, this was the worst team in baseball last year, the year before and the year before that. But all of a sudden, in May, they won as many games as the Yankees and have managed to slaw their way out of the baseball cellar- San Diego may have to find another team to commiserate with.

Maybe that's going a little far. In any case, the Tigers, coming off two wins in San Diego and a 4-6 away stretch, face the Giants in Pac Bell Park.

The first matchup sees Kirk Rueter pitching against Jeremy Bonderman. Bonderman, a rookie, has never pitched a game against a NL team, let alone the Giants. His 2-7 W-L ratio sounds might sweet though. Hitters should take advantage of his first pitch- usually a bit low-away in the strike zone and crush his 1-0 over the plate fastball. Woody, not surprisingly, has never pitched against the Tigers. In his last outing, Rueter pitched a shut-out against the Rockies, the team that took him yard at Coors, giving up 7 hits and striking out 3 (a good day for Woody, eh?). It would have been even better to see Woody pitch against Nate Cornejo, who has been described as the second coming of Woody, but we'll take what we can get.

On Saturday afternoon, Jason Schmidt pitches against Mike Maroth. Maroth, who is scheduled for today's start despite a pulled hamstring, has been the King of Pain: dude's 1-10. Yes, he's that guy. Righties hit over .300 against this guy, with the lefties struggling just above .200- probably because of his 2-seamer that runs away from the righties, but not far enough. Schmidt on the other hand…does 88 SO on the season say enough? How about opponents hitting .198 against him? I think so. Dmitri Young has had some success against Schmidt, going 6-20 with 2 2B's, but it's been at least 3 years since he faced Jason- and that was when he was in a Pirates uniform.

The final Sunday battle has Damian Moss pitching against Woody-wannabe Nate Cornejo. Cornejo has pitched well in his last 3 games despite not winning a decision among them. With an ERA of 2.82, Cornejo relies on the slow fastball that eats away at corners and it's paid off- Cornejo has given up only 2 runs per game in his last 10 starts. While that sounds great, let me say that you're only as good as your defense and really, Detroit doesn't have much in the way of that (their shortstop has 11 errors on the year, for example). Moss enters in the game after losing to the Twins 4-6 on Tuesday. I swear, watching this guy sometimes, it's like watching Livan Hernandez pitch: he walks so many and you feel so tense and then he either gets a DP groundout and a strikeout and you feel relieved, or the batter doubles to centerfield and you just want shout. However, he's only managed to give up more than 3 runs only twice this season so I'd still call him a reliable pitcher.

J.T. Snow hit a homerun last night against the Twins, hopefully beginning to resolve his cold bat issues. Also, we've begun to see some peaks in the curve that is Barry Bonds- who, admittedly, hasn't been swinging the bat well. Hopefully this home series will be what the Giants need to pick up their batting averages and drop some numbers in the win column- LA's only 3 behind!



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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