June 29-July 1, Los Angeles Dodgers Series

Since their last meeting in San Francisco where the Giants swept the Dodgers, both teams have continued on their separate routes. The Giants went across the bay to take the series against Oakland, and LA was able to salvage a game against the Angels. This series is crucial for the Giants, because it will determine whether or not they'll able to win on the road and push the Dodgers out of the race for the NL West title.

What a relief it was for Barry Bonds on Sunday afternoon when he finally blasted a hot potato over the fence in Oakland. Bonds has also reached another milestone this weekend, scoring his 2,000th career run. It was exactly two weeks ago that Bonds had jacked one out of the park, which is a very long time in Barry Bonds terms.

However, the Giants have fortunately continued playing great baseball, having superb offense combined mixed with solid pitching. Edgardo Alfonzo continues to have the hot bat, and has often made teams pay for walking Bonds. Deivi Cruz is still a pleasant surprise, quickly proving to the team that he should be the starting shortstop.

The Dodgers have been suffering a sudden drop ever since the Giants knocked them out of first place with a four game sweep last week. This series will most likely determine whether or not the Dodgers will make a trade to try to keep contending, or to make a trade in preparation for next season. The only Dodger that has been having a great season is Adrian Beltre.

In the first game of the series, the Giants will send Jerome Williams (7-5, 4.48) to the mound, and we get to witness Jeff Weaver (5-8, 4.53) versus Michael Tucker and the Giants, part two. The only Dodgers that have given Williams problems are Dave Roberts, who is 3-8 with a triple, and Beltre, who is 3-6. A.J. Pierzynski is 8-20 against Weaver, with four doubles, and Bonds is 3-6 with two jacks.

For the next game, Brett Tomko (2-4, 5.50) will make the start against Hideo Nomo (3-9, 7.65). After coming off the DL, Tomko pitched really well in his first start back, which was also against the Dodgers. Overall in his career, Tomko has done well against the Dodgers, but has Alex Cora hitting .348 against him, including a double and a triple. Juan Encarnacion is 9-20 against Tomko with a triple and two jacks. Nomo has always done well against the Giants, but he isn't having a great season and faltered in his last start against San Francisco. Ray Durham is hitting .333 against Nomo with six hits, including a double. Cruz has three triples against Nomo, and Bonds has three homeruns.

In the final game of the series, Jason Schmidt (10-2, 2.43) will be pitching for the Giants against the Dodgers' Jose Lima (6-3, 4.64). In his last start against Oakland, Schmidt gave up more runs, four, than in his last five starts. Schmidt has also done well against the Dodgers in his career, with Shawn Green being his biggest problem, hitting .500 with ten hits, including three doubles and two jacks. Todd Hundley has also done well against Schmidt, with three doubles and four homeruns. Bonds has nine hits in nineteen at-bats against Lima, including a triple and four homeruns. Neifi Perez has nine hits in twenty-five at-bats with a double and a homerun. Michael Tucker has also hit Lima well, going 6-17 with a triple and three jacks.

Matt Herges (4-2, 4.58) has been really solid for the Giants' bullpen as of late, especially in save situations with twenty-one saves for the season already. He and the rest of the Giants' bullpen would have to continue their solid performance to counter the Dodgers' Eric Gagne (2- 0, 1.69). Gagne has eighteen saves this season. J.T. Snow is 5-16 against Gagne with a double, but if Tucker wants to get revenge on Gagne, it probably wouldn't be in the batter's box, as he is 0-8 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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