July 21- July 22, San Diego Padres Series

After a quick two-game sweep in Arizona, the Giants return home to continue battling more National League West rivals as the Padres come to town for another two-game quickie. However, unlike the Dbacks, the Padres are well in contention for the pennant, so the next two games will not be easy.

A sweep sounds nice, even if it was just a two game sweep, and even if it was against the last place team of the division. However, the Giants will try to bring that momentum as they start their short homestand against the San Diego Padres.

The Padres had a bad stretch that dropped them to third place in the division, but they aren't too far behind. As Phil Nevin and David Wells return from injury, the Padres feel like they're back in full force. Also, the Padres' front office have made a subtle move, but most Giants' fans have probably noticed. They added veteran infielder and long time Giant, Rich Aurilia, to strengthen their bench. Make no mistake, the Padres will be in this race until the end.

As for the Giants, bullpen woes have continued, especially for Matt Herges, but their hitting has been on. J.T. Snow has done particularly well since coming off the DL and since moving into the third spot in the lineup. Ray Durham has been an offensive instigator for the Giants, even though he's made a few defensive errors.

In the first game, the Padres will have Jake Peavy (6-3, 2.38) going against the Giants' Kirk Rueter (5-7, 4.99). Peavy has decent success against the Giants, but Marquis Grissom is 8-21 and Snow is 7-14 with a double, a triple, and a homerun. Yorvit Torrealba is also 5-9 with a double and a jack, but Durham is only 3-17. Rueter had a solid outing against the Rockies in his last start, giving up only five runs at the hitters' paradise. Career wise, Rueter has always pitched well against San Diego, but Nevin is hitting .467 against him with fourteen hits, including two doubles and three jacks. Success that Rueter has against Padres' hitters include a 2-24 by Brian Giles and a 4-22 by Sean Burroughs.

For the second and final game, the Padres will be sending the rejuvenated Wells (5-5, 3.20) to the mound against Jason Schmidt (12-2, 2.35). The Giants have done well against Wells, with Durham leading the way with 17 hits in 43 at-bats, including four double and two jacks. Deivi Cruz has 12 hits in 33 at-bats with five doubles. However, Snow is only 1-18 and Edgardo Alfonzo is 4-18. Schmidt earned his 12th consecutive win of the season and became the first pitcher in the NL to earn 12 wins. Schmidt has also had success against the Padres, except for Jeff Cirillo who has seven hits in seventeen at-bats including a double. However, the rest of the Padres, including Ryan Klesko's 4-27, Giles' 1-14, and Nevin's 2-10, have not done well against Schmidt.

For the Padres, Trevor Hoffman (2-1, 2.34) has been on and off. He has not done well against Giants' hitters with Grissom hitting .381 and Barry Bonds hitting .333. Things have not gone well lately for Matt Herges (4-4, 5.82) at all. Mark Loretta has four hits in eight at-bats against Herges, and Cirillo and Aurilia have four hits in twelve at- bats, but Jay Payton is only 2-12 against Herges.

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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