July 2-July 4, Oakland A's Series

These two teams meet again for the last time in the regular season coming off two different series. The A's swept their Southern California rivals, but the Giants lost the series in LA. However, after the Giants took the series in Oakland last weekend, this weekend series will prove crucial for both teams as the Giants try to stay on top of their division, and the A's try to take over first place in theirs.

Barry Bonds continues his tear and shows why he keeps breaking his own intentional walk record. A.J. Pierzynski is also starting to swing the bat well, but Deivi Cruz has cooled off since his hot streak, and Marquis Grissom has been inconsistent.

In the first game of the series, Mark Redman (6-4, 4.03) will be pitching for the A's against the Giants' Kirk Rueter (3-6, 4.91). Redman had a good start against the Giants in his last outing, and have kept the Giants in check for the most part. Other than Marquis Grissom, who is 4-6 with a double and two jacks, Edgardo Alfonzo, who is 2-2, and Bonds who is 1-1, the rest of the team have not done well against Redman. For the A's, Mark Kotsay has hit Rueter well, going 9-37 with a double. Damian Miller has ten hits in thirty-four at-bats with six doubles and one homerun, while veteran Eric Karros is 16-50 with three jacks and twelve RBIs.

For the next game, Dustin Hermanson (3-2, 450) will pitch for the Giants, but the A's have yet to determine their starter. It would be young hurler, Rich Harden's start, but his health is questionable due to an injury he suffered in his last start against the Giants. Hermanson did well against the A's in his last start, as he went more than seven innings and gave up only two runs. Miller has two hits in five at-bats against Hermanson, including a double, and Karros has again had success, going 8-26 with four doubles and two homeruns.

In the last game of the series, and the last game of interleague play this season, Oakland will send Mark Mulder (10-2, 2.90) to the mound against the Giants' Jerome Williams (7-5, 4.48). Mulder has been having a great season, and has always done well against the Giants, except for Bonds, who is 7-14 against Mulder with a double and three homeruns. Williams didn't make his last scheduled start against the Dodgers because of a tender shoulder, but should be able to make this start. However, if he isn't available, the Giants have no problem going to Noah Lowry, the young lefty who's been sensational whenever he was asked to start. Kotsay is 3-8 against Williams with a triple, and Eric Byrnes is 2-6.

The A's have been very grateful for their new closer, Octavio Dotel (1- 4, 3.57), who collected a save in each of the three games against Anaheim. Bonds is 2-6 with a jack against Dotel. Neifi Perez is 3-6 with a triple, and Pedro Feliz is 2-4. Pierzynski is 1-2 with a homerun and Deivi Cruz is 1-1 with a double. Matt Herges (4-2, 4.58) has been doing well for the Giants as well, with twenty-one saves for the season. The only A's with a hit against Herges is Erubiel Durazo and Bobby Crosby. The rest of the team have no been able to hit Herges at all.

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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