Despite the narrow edge that the Giants have over the Dodgers in the NL West, the Dodgers have just come off victories against Detroit and Cleveland... Not some of the most impressing teams in the league this season. The Giants, on the other hand, have at least faced mediocre teams in their last six game stretch. The Dodger offense have not been contributing much, since the Dodgers are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league, but their superb pitching department has helped them out. Kevin Brown, among the other starting pitchers, has pitched flawlessly, and Dodgers closer, Eric Gagne has also been a brick. However, if the Giants are able to cash in offensively against the Dodgers, then it should not be a problem to win the series.
The first game has Dodger ace, Kevin Brown, going against Giant rookie, Jesse Foppert. Again, Foppert find himself going against one of the top pitchers in the league, and that has not proven to be friendly for him. Foppert has pitched superbly in most of his outings, only to see the opposing pitch stump the Giants' offense into the loss column. Brown isn't showing any signs of slowing down or cooling off, so Fop will have to bring his best stuff to the mound on Tuesday if he wants any chance of winning against Brown.
In the second game, the Giants send Kirk Rueter to the mound against Kazuhisa Ishii. Rueter has been doing great for the Giants, Felipe Alou even said he's never seen Rueter pitched so well before in his career. This is a great sign for the Giants, who will be trying to give Rueter his eighth win, and also to run his record to a magnificent 8-1.
In the final game at Los Angeles, Giant ace Jason Schmidt goes up against Odalis Perez. By the way Schmidt is pitching, he could very easily be an eight or nine game winner as of now... But the Giants have this tradition they must keep every time Schmidty pitches... they don't like to score runs. The Giants have not given Schmidt any run support while he's on the mound, as he's throwing hard and sweating through the innings trying to collect wins. Perez has been tough for the Giants, so it'll be interesting to see who wins this battle.
SERIES QUESTIONABLES: San Francisco:
J.T. Snow (.273)
Andres Galarraga (.359)
Fred McGriff (.242)
McGriff is a good first baseman, but Snow has displayed his awesome defensive skills with a few impressive stops against Chicago.
Snow has begun to warm up, and depending on how Galarraga is feeling, he may be back in the line up some time, too. He may get the start against Perez. McGriff has been slumping for the Dodgers and he has never been too successful against Giants pitching.
Ray Durham (.324)
Neifi Perez (.280)
Jolbert Cabrera (.263)
Durham made some impressive defensive plays against Chicago, but Cora and Cabrera are also great second basemen.
Even though Cora has been decent for the Dodgers and Cabrera has been able to deliver, the fact still remains that Ray D is hot. His sixteen game hitting streak was broken in the last game on Sunday, but not only did he hit safely in sixteen games, but he also made himself heard while getting his hits and driving in runs and getting on base.
Rich Aurilia (.268)
Cesar Izturis (.249)
Izturis has made some errors this season, and Aurilia has had his share of errors, but he continues to play solid defense as of late.
Richie just loves to play the Dodgers. He has a convincing .312 BA against all of the Dodgers pitching staff, including an impressive record against Dodgers closer, Eric Gagne, and with his bat gradually warming up, he'll be dangerous in the batter's box.
Edgardo Alfonzo (.221)
Pedro Feliz (.246)
Adrian Beltre (.207)
Ron Coomer (.186)
Even though Alfonzo has collected some errors in recent games, he takes a lot of pride in his defense. You can bet he won't make another mistake anytime soon.
Beltre and Coomer have been icy cold for the Dodgers, and neither have had a very impressive outing against the Giants either. Alfonzo's due... it's about time, too. His bat has shown some signs of life in recent games and he's been collecting some RBIs to add to his unmoving RBI numbers since mid-May.
Benito Santiago (.284)
Paul Lo Duca (.328)
Todd Hundley (.200)
It's really tough to tell who will be catching for the Giants in this series with Torrealba out and Santiago's status questionable. Santiago will be wanted to catch Foppert's pitches in the first game, it won't be the same for the rookie to pitch to a Triple-A catcher.
Even if Santiago plays, he's cooled down dramatically after busting out red hot earlier. Lo Duca has been contributing to the Dodgers' lack of offense, so he gets the upper hand... especially if the Giants have to stick a Triple-A Fresno kid in to play.
Barry Bonds (.315)
Brian Jordan (.293)
Mike Kinkade (.247)
Mike Kinkade had an effect on this call. It was pretty much a tie before his .867 fielding percentage tipped the scales in the Giants direction. Thank you, Mike. You just stopped the Dodgers from having a tie!
The key word of this match-up? Walks. Just think about it. Kevin Brown is a Giant killer, yet he's walked Bonds fifteen times, compared to striking him out just nine. In total, Bonds has been walked by Dodgers pitchers a total of fifty-seven times, and has struck out just thirty-nine times. That's not to mention the fact that Bonds is having an amazing June, and Jordan has cooled off a lot in May. Giants win.
Marquis Grissom (.314)
Grissom has the edge here. He gets to more balls, and his fielding percentage is almost identical to Roberts. Roberts has two errors and Grissom has four, but since Grissom has almost twice as many putouts, that means their fielding percentages end up only exactly the same.
Roberts hasn't been doing well at all in June, and while Grissom has cooled off from his May numbers, he's still having a very good Month. Clearly, this match goes to Grissom. Sure, Roberts has already stole twenty-two bases. That's nice, but he's hitting .258 and his OBP is only .333. That's not very impressive for a leadoff hitter.
Jose Cruz. Jr. (.269)
Shawn Green (.256)
As usual, Cruz's solid range and great glove give him the edge on defense. But this time, his defensive advantage is not enough to make up for his lack of hitting against the Dodgers. Also, Green isn't really that bad of a fielder, it's just that Cruz is better.
Somehow, Jason Schmidt and Kirk Rueter just can't get Green out, period. Most of the Giants can't. Just because Cruz has more power and a higher batting average doesn't mean he's going to do better than Green. Green is going to win this match up, because he knows how to hit the Giants pitchers.
Jesse Foppert (4-5, 4.18)
Kirk Rueter (7-1, 3.60)
Jason Schmidt (5-3, 2.67)
Kevin Brown (9-1, 2.00)
Kazuhisa Ishii (6-2, 2.97)
Odalis Perez (4-4, 4.70)
The Dodgers win the contest when it comes to starting pitchers. Brown is 9-1 this season, and while the one loss was against the Giants, his season record still is more impressive than any of the Giants. Ishii is having a great season as well, and so far Giants can't hit him. It will be a close battle, but the Dodgers look to have the better starters, especially with the way some of the Dodgers hitters hit Rueter and Schmidt.
The Dodgers have an impressive crew of relief pitchers, five of them with ERAs below 2.50. They don't have any bad relief pitchers, and the Giants have had some problems with their staff, especially in recent months. If the Giants had Rob Nenn, Worrell wouldn't be forced into the closer role. It's not that Worrell is a bad closer, it's that the Giants are losing a great setup man.
Finally, someone can defeat Worrell, it seems. Gagne already has 26 saves. And he gives up less than half a hit per inning. Worrell is good, sure, but Gagne is doing amazingly well this season.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com