June 15-June 17, Toronto Blue Jays Series

After a grueling roadtrip where they ended with a 7-7 record, the Giants return to San Francisco with hopes of continuing their streak at home. Interleague play continues as the Giants welcome the Blue Jays for the first time ever. With Toronto struggling, and the Giants' ups and downs, this series will be interesting and crucial for the Giants, who are still hovering about one and a half games behind the first place Dodgers and Padres in the division.

Home, sweet home. Nothing can express the Giants' mood more than that phrase. Their two week road trip has been their longest in fifteen years, and yet, they managed to get a .500 record. The Giants catch another break when the Blues Jays come to town, as their top slugger, Carlos Delgado, will be out for the series, and probably for longer than that.

More good news for the Giants is that leadoff man and starting second baseman, Ray Durham, is scheduled to come off the DL for this series. It will be interesting to see how the Giants work Durham into the lineup, as Michael Tucker has been having great success in the leadoff spot, and Durham's speed will be reduced due to his injuries.

In the first series, former Diamondback, Miguel Batista (4-4, 4.20), will be up against the prized arm of Jason Schmidt (7-2, 2.49). As a former opponent in the same division, Batista has had a good deal of experience against the Giants, but not many have had much success against him. Edgardo Alfonzo has six hits in twenty-nine at-bats, including two doubles and a homerun. Bonds has seven hits in twenty- three at-bats, with two doubles and four jacks. Grissom is 7-22, with two homeruns, but six strikeouts. Neifi Perez has the best record against Batista, hitting .444 in eighteen at-bats with two doubles and three RBIs. Fortunately for the Blue Jays, they haven't faced Schmidt nearly as enough, with Batista having the most at-bats against Schmidt with eight. Chris Gomez and Gregg Zaun both have one hit, but Bobby Estalella, Greg Myers, and Frank Catalanotoo are all hitless against Schmidt.

In the next game, Toronto will be sending Pat Hentgen (2-5, 5.05) to counter the Giants' Kirk Rueter (2-6, 5.53). Durham is 12-35 against Hentgen, with three doubles and three homeruns, but five strikeouts. Tucker has the next best record with eight hits in twenty-one at-bats, including two doubles, a triple, and a roundtripper, but also five strikeouts. Bonds is 0-3 with three walks. Dave Berg is 3-8 against Rueter, and Frank Menechino, the former Oakland A's, is 3-6. Gomez, who has the most experience against Rueter, is 1-13 with a double.

In the final afternoon game, Toronto's ace, Roy Halladay (6-4, 3.55), will be opposed by Dustin Hermanson (2-2, 4.08). Tucker is 5-13 against Halladay, with a double and a homerun, Alfonzo is 4-9 with a double, and Damon Minor is 3-3 with a double and jack. Other than that, Halladay has kept the Giants relatively quiet. The Blue Jays have hit Hermanson relatively well, with Gomez leading the way with six hits in nineteen at-bats. Delgado has had great success against Hermanson, going 7-10 with three jacks, but he will not be playing in this series.

If there was a term for "beat-up bullpen," the Giants' is the embodiment of it. Thankfully, with the off-day on Monday, the bullpen, along with the rest of the Giants, are able to rest up after a long road trip and tough series in Baltimore, which included a doubleheader that lasted over eight hours. Jason Frasor (2-2, 1.91) is the young arm which closes games out for Toronto. In his limited big league experience, he has never faced any of the Giants before. Matt Herges (2-2, 5.40) pitched a spectacular game in Baltimore, stranding the bases loaded with no outs. Herges has a good record against the Blue Jays, with only Myers, Chris Woodward, and Eric Hinske who have hits against him.

Sara Kwan is a writer for SFDugout.com. Got a bone to pick? Just want to say hi? Hit me up: kwanchino@alpha-q.net.

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