July 8-11, Arizona Diamondbacks Series

The NL West battle continues as the Giants play host to the Diamondbacks for a crucial four-game series. Well, not as crucial for Arizona, who have fallen off the face of the division race, but crucial for the Giants, who will be trying to bounce back after losing their last three series.

Barry Bonds continues his tear at the plate as he's at homerun #681 at the moment. Since coming off the DL, J.T. Snow has found his stroke and possibly a spot in the lineup batting third in front of Bonds. The injury prone Ray Durham was scratched from the lineup in the last contest against Colorado because of hamstring problems, and it's uncertain whether or not he'll return back to the DL.

In the series opener, Elmer Dessens (1-5, 5.09) will take the mound against the Giants' Dustin Hermanson (3-2, 4.11). The Giants have hit Dessens well, with A.J. Pierzynski going 6-6 and Michael Tucker going 3-6 with two doubles. Edgardo Alfonzo is 7-21 with a double and a homerun, while Snow is 5-14 with a double. Hermanson has been pitching real well for the Giants, especially in his last start, where he collected a career high of eleven strikeouts and left the game with the lead in tact, but the bullpen blew it. This has been a frequent occurrence, as Hermanson now has nine no decisions for the season. Luis Gonzalez has the most success against Hermanson, hitting .429 with nine hits, including three doubles and three jacks.

In the second game, Arizona's ace, Randy Johnson (10-6, 2.90), will pitch against the Giants' young Jerome Williams (7-6, 4.67). Ray Durham has had the most success against Johnson, with seven hits in fifteen at-bats, including a double. Neifi Perez is 11-32 with two doubles and three homeruns, while Bonds is 12-40 with three doubles and three jacks. Since skipping a start because of a tender shoulder, Williams had a bad outing against Oakland, and also runs into some bad luck this time around because he'll have to face Johnson. If Williams' shoulder is a constant problem, then he may be placed on the DL, and the Giants will have no hesitation in bringing the young lefty, Noah Lowry, up from the minors to spot start again. Alex Cintron has five hits in thirteen at-bats against Williams, and both Chad Tracy and Robby Hammock have two hits in three at-bats.

For the next game, Brandon Webb (3-8, 3.87) will pitch for the Diamondbacks against Brett Tomko (3-5, 5.32). Webb has always pitched well against the Giants, with only Durham having success against him, including five hits with a double and two jacks in seven at-bats. Tomko had two great outings since coming off the DL, but his last outing could be rated as a forgettable one. Arizona has done well against Tomko, where Gonzalez has nine hits in nineteen at-bats, including a homerun.

In the finale of the four game series, Arizona's Casey Fossum (2-7, 5.75) will take the mound against Jason Schmidt (10-2, 2.53). The Giants have hit Fossum relatively well, with Neifi Perez leading the way with three hits in four at-bats. Bonds and Alfonzo both have two hits and one homerun a piece against Fossum. Schmidt pitched another beauty in his last start, and left the game with a 6-1 lead, but the bullpen gave up seven runs in the last two innings that resulted in a loss for the team. Like most teams, Arizona has not done well against Schmidt, with only Steve Finley, hitting .299 against Schmidt, and Cintron, hitting .333 in eighteen at-bats, who have success against him. However, Gonzalez does have three jacks against Schmidt.

Arizona's new closer, Mike Koplove (2-2, 4.91) has two saves, and while Matt Herges (4-3, 5.01) has twenty-one saves, he and the rest of the bullpen have blown many opportunities to keep the lead, or to keep games close. Koplove has scattered a few hits amongst the Giants' lineup, but no Giant has ever hit a homerun against him. If Herges looks to bounce back, it'll be difficult against Arizona hitters, who have done well against Herges in the past, with Finley leading the way with five hits in thirteen at-bats, including a jack. Danny Bautista has five hits in eight at-bats, including a double and a homerun.

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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