The Crystal (base)Ball: Padres vs Giants

The Giants take on the San Diego Padres this weekend in a three game series of slightly less-than-epic proportions. Now lets all calm down about Barry's amazing 9th inning yesterday and take a look at these matchups.

Friday night's game sees the return of Kirk Rueter, who left before the All Star break to attend to a sore throwing arm. Pitching against him is Adam Eaton, who has won his last three decisions including on in Arizona against Brandon Webb. Eaton has a great fastball coupled with a lazy curveball that goes so high, it threatens to go out of camera view. Eaton hasn't thrown much against the Giants (his one game was a loss, 8-1 where he gave up 4 hits and 4 runs), but somehow I don't think that will be much of a problem. There is always one Giant who steps up to the plate- yesterday was Ray Durham, today it could be Yorvit Torrealba who has never faced Eaton but could be facing his last start, as Benito Santiago is eligible to come off the DL tomorrow.

Rueter is coming off a streak of bad pitching ending with his termination midway through the second inning with a strained shoulder. The All Star break seemed to do other slumping pitchers well though: Damian Moss has had two high-caliber wins since coming back to the rotation and Jesse Foppert pitched excellently against an admittedly bad-on-the-road Colorado team. Perhaps the break will have a similar effect on Woody. Powerhitters Rondell White, Mark Kotsay and Phil Nevin have done well against Woody, who's only game against them this year was his opening day no-decision. While there is no doubt that Woody's spot in the rotation is sealed, I think a win today would boost the confidence of not only the fans, but of Woody himself.

Saturday's game, which is Fireworks Night for all you lucky people with tickets, matches Jerome Williams against Kevin Jarvis. Jarvis, who spent a great deal of time warming the 60-day DL bench with Jay Witasick, has won his last three stats (including one against SF). In each of their games, he hasn't given up more than 2 runs, with none of them being jacks into the stands. That's the bad news. The good news is that Rich Aurilia, who has been hitting well since the break, OWNS this man. 12 for 22 (that's a .545 average people) with 7 2B's, 6 RBI and a .864 slugging percentage. That should put a smile on you Richie fans.

Williams, in his last start, proved he was human and earned a ND in a five-inning stint against the Diamondbacks last week to end his 5-game winning streak. San Diego, like many other teams, have never faced the rocket righty.

Sunday's day game will match Jesse Foppert against Jake Peavy. Peavy has lost his last two decisions with one against the Giants (gave up 7 runs and 9 hits in 4 innings), giving him a 1-1 record this season against them. Peavy will need to watch himself against J.T. Snow and the newly-returned Santiago: Snow is 4-8 with a double, triple and HR, Santiago is 3-4 with a triple and both are slugging at 1.250. That's not good news for him.

Foppert has won his only game against the Padres this season despite throwing 108 pitches in 5 innings and giving up 5. While the bar has been set a higher than Foppert's reach, Foppert pitched an excellent game against the Rockies last week, giving hope to all of us who believe him to be a step away from greatness. Both Rondell White and Ryan Klesko hit 2-3 with a HR in that game, their only meeting with Foppert. If he wants to avoid a trip to 105-degree Fresno, he'll need a good outing today.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the return of once-Giants closer Rod Beck, who is 11/11 in saves this year but is listed, unfortunately, as day-to-day. It would be a treat to see him come out and throw a couple against his old teammates JT Snow and Barry Bonds. Enjoy the games everyone, and we'll see if we can't come out of this 11-0 since the all-star break!

Jillian Bailles d'Err writes for 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

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