July 15-July 18, Colorado Rockies Series

The Giants are the lucky ones to be opening their second half at the hitter friendly Coors' Field. This veteran club is rejuvenated and ready for their second half run, but it won't be easy, as this series will show. The Rockies have all their hitters back, and have, arguably, one of the most potent lineups in the league.

The Giants ended their first half on a happy note, beating the lowly Diamondbacks 3-1 in a four game series. However, as the first half showed, winning this division and going to the playoffs would not be easy, and this division race will be a battle to the finish.

Offensively, the Giants have been lighting up, as J.T. Snow found a new home batting in front of Barry Bonds. A.J. Pierzynski has also raised his average to his career average of .300. The Giants' pitchers have been finding their way home, with struggling Brett Tomko pitching a gem in his last start, and with Kirk Rueter finally indicating that he may be back to his old, winning self.

Opening up the second half for the Giants will be Jerome Williams (8-6, 4.66) going against the Rockies' Jason Jennings (8-7, 6.19). Williams pitched a solid game in his last start, giving up three runs in six innings. Vinny Castilla has three hits in seven at-bats against Williams, including two doubles, and Jeromy Burnitz is 2-4. No Rockies player has a homerun off Williams. Against Jennings, Snow is 10-29 with six doubles, and Bonds is 8-21 with two doubles and two jacks. Edgardo Alfonzo is 5-16 with a triple, and Neifi Perez is 6-11 with a double.

For the next game, Rueter (5-6, 4.85) will pitch against Shawn Estes (8-4, 5.87). After a rocky start, Rueter is starting to settle in. Larry Walker is 14-44 against Rueter with two jacks, a triple, and three doubles. Todd Helton is 16-43 with two jacks and two doubles, and Burnitz is 10-32 with four doubles and two homeruns. Preston Wilson has also hit Rueter well, going 9-22 with a double and a homerun. Against the former Giant, Estes, Alfonzo is 11-25 with a double, and Marquis Grissom is 10-23 with four doubles and a jack. Michael Tucker also has four hits in eight at-bats with a homerun.

In the next match up, Jason Schmidt (11-2, 2.51) will be making the start against Aaron Cook (4-3, 5.20). Schmidt was invited to the All- Star game, but didn't pitch due to his last outing on Sunday, where he lodged over 120 pitches, but earned his 11th win in a row. Walker is 10-30 against Schmidt with a double and three jacks, and Helton has nine hits in thirty-three at-bats, including three doubles, a triple, and two jacks. Other than that, the Giants' ace has kept the rest of Colorado's lineup in check. The Giants have hit Cook well, with Snow leading the way, going 7-13 with three doubles. Bonds is 6-10 with a double, Ray Durham is 3-9 with two doubles, and Deivi Cruz is 3-8. However, Pierzynski is 0-6.

In the four-game finale, Dustin Hermanson (3-3, 4.34) will take the mound against Joe Kennedy (5-4, 3.95). Hermanson had a rocky start in his last outing, earning a loss, but still has nine no-decisions this entire season. However, Hermanson had one of his best outings in his last start in Colorado. Helton has eight hits in nineteen at-bats against Hermanson, with two doubles and five jacks, and Walker has five hits in fifteen at-bats with three doubles and a homerun. Other than Helton and Walker, Hermanson has had success against the rest of the Rockies, including Charles Johnson's 0-11, Wilson's 1-11, and Royce Clayton's 0-6. Against Kennedy, Cruz is 4-11 with a jack, and Dustan Mohr is 7-10 with a double. Pierzynski is 4-10 with two doubles, a triple, and a homerun, and Perez has four hits in seven at-bats with a double and a jack.

Matt Herges (4-4, 4.89) and the rest of the Giants' bullpen should be well rested after a laboring first half. Wilson is 5-11 against Herges, and Burnitz is 5-9 with a double, a triple, and a jack. Shawn Chacon (1-5, 6.81) has also had his ups and downs as the Rockies' closer. Bonds has nine hits in twenty at-bats against Chacon, including a double and two jacks. Snow is 4-11 with a double and a triple.

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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