The Crystal (base)Ball:Giants vs Rockies

After a brief stay at home, the Giants continue their stay abroad by landing for a quick series in Colorado. The last time the Giants came out of Coors, they had won only 1 of 4, and that was by DL pitcher Kurt Ainsworth. And we weren't just beaten, we were rocked. Will this short trip give equally bad results?

With the rise of the Diamondbacks despite their lack of Cy Young pitchers, Jesse Foppert will need to be on his game against Aaron Cook. Cook is on thin ice with Colorado and this start may be the one that determines his future in the Rockies major league organization- this can mean either two things:

1) He pitches like his life depends on it
2) He'll overpitch

Cook hasn't gotten a win since the end of May and has given up 18 runs in the last 4 games he has pitched since then, going super-deep into pitch counts. In the only game he has pitched against SF, four different players doubled off of him- mind you, this was at Pac Bell, where doubles are a bit hard to come by. He's a good pitcher for the Rocky Mountains- he hasn't given up more than 1 HR in a game since mid May. Expect a lot of fly balls to not go far enough.

Foppert is 1-1 against Colorado- his loss coming at Coors. Foppert has definitely been shaky the last month and, despite his win against San Diego, still is having trouble locating his pitches away from the strike zone. With Woody Rueter possibly being out for a bit and Brower perhaps being moved up to fill the void, the Giants are going to be down a solid, bullpen guy- something they do not need right now. Let's go Jesse!

The backhalf of this stop will be pitched by Jason Schmidt against Darren Oliver. Oliver is on a winning streak, going 3-0 with 1 ND against red-hot AZ. Both Rich Aurilia and Jose Cruz Jr have 2 homers off of Oliver- great if we see either maintaining their slow rise in batting average. Oliver is great against lefties- this season keeping them down to a .182 AVG and a .273 OBP. Righties are much more fortunate- hitting .306 with a .367 OBP so expect Andres Galarraga to be playing instead of JT Snow.

Jason Schmidt lost his last start to San Diego, which have been on a surprising tear through the west coast teams (LA, Seattle and even us when were at Qualcomm). The man has been a workhorse going 110+ pitches every game but one (and that was 106) for the last nine games! Larry Walker has been great in the past against Schmidt, drawing 3 HR and 4 walks this year. Look for Schmidt to prove his dominance in ANY stadium and for him to possibly start in Chicago (but don't quote me on that). In any case, look for his fastball to shine like a beer can in the night sky against the Rockies.

Keys to this game will be the pitchers and them developing an aversion to walks. NO WALKS! Watch out for Todd Helton, who despite the two losses to Arizona hit well (4-6, 3 RBI's). Also, the continuing saga that is Edgardo Alfonso's batting average: will he go 3-4 or 0-fer? It's anyone's guess! Look for Marquis to continue to be the man in the lineup. See you in Arizona.



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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