June 18-June 20, Boston Red Sox Series

It's time. The Boston Red Sox are finally making their first appearance in San Francisco since 1912, and their first ever appearance at SBC Park. In this highly anticipated series that sold out in mere minutes, the fans can't wait to welcome this team to town, and hopefully see some great baseball be played.

The Giants are smoking hot at home right now. Coming off a 9-0 winning streak at home, the Giants are comfortable and playing with confidence, and like the Toronto Blue Jays, hope to give the Boston Red Sox the same type of welcome.

Pitching has been solid for the Giants, with their starters putting up quality numbers, giving their rested bullpen a chance to keep them close in games. The Giants are also putting offense on the board.

Edgardo Alfonzo and Michael Tucker are among the Giants' bats that are heating up. It seems like even when they make an out, it's a loud out. Pedro Feliz is also starting to hit the ball well again after his mini- slump on the road.

In the first game of the series, knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield (4-5, 4.46), will be up against Jerome Williams (6-4, 4.30). The former Minnesota Twins, A.J. Pierzynski and Dustan Mohr, each have four hits in twelve at-bats against Wakefield, each with a double. Marquis Grissom is also 4-10 against Wakefield with a jack, but in a higher number of at-bats, such as Ray Durham (7-34) and Deivi Cruz (8-31), the Giants are less successful. The only Red Sox Williams has faced is former Diamondback, Curt Schilling, who is 0-2 against him.

One of the greatest pitchers today will be starting the second game, Pedro Martinez (7-3, 3.77), and still spot starting for the injured Brett Tomko is Noah Lowry (0-0, 6.43). Barry Bonds leads the Giants against Martinez, going 11-30 with three doubles, a triple, a roundtripper, and ten walks. Grissom also has good numbers against Martinez, with twelve hits in twenty-one at-bats, including three doubles, a triple, and a jack. Pierzynski is 4-11, but the rest of the Giants haven't had as much luck against the former Cy Young winner. The Red Sox have never seen Lowry before, so this match-up will be reputation versus surprise.

In the series finale, Boston's Bronson Arroyo (2-5, 4.96) will be pitching against Jason Schmidt (8-2, 2.50). In limited opportunities against Arroyo, Alfonzo is 1-5, and Neifi Perez is 2-5 with a double. Tucker is 2-4, but the rest of the Giants either have not had a hit off Arroyo, or haven't faced him before. Schmidt is spectacular right now, and with eight wins in a row, he has pinpoint control of his game. Kevin Millar has hit Schmidt well, going 5-6 against him with three doubles. Pokey Reese has the most experience against Schmidt, but is only 4-24.

Another one of Boston's offseason acquisitions, Keith Foulke (2-0, 1.05), has been sensational for Boston in save situations. Besides Grissom and Perez being 4-7 against him, he has shut the Giants down in the past, but has faced Bonds once and walked him. For the Giants, Matt Herges (2-2, 5.03) continues to be solid in relief and as a closer. He has been just as effective against the Red Sox, with only Gabe Kapler who has a hit against him. He has fanned eleven in twenty-nine at-bats, including an 0-7 by Millar and 0-5 by Reese.

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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