July 23-July 25, St. Louis Cardinals Series

After a short and forgettable homestand against the Padres, the Giants hit the road again, but it doesn't get much easier for them. They make their first appearance in St. Louis to play the best team in the NL for the first time this season. This will be a crucial series, and will determine how much confidence this tired ballclub still has left in them.

One word to describe the Giants right now would be tired. A disadvantage of having a veteran ballclub is that players get tired at around this point of the season, and judging by the Giants' performances in the last few games, that stands true.

It's no excuse, and some guys are trying to pick up the slack. J.T. Snow isn't stopping for anyone, and may have found a new home batting fifth to protect Barry Bonds. Despite still having one of the best averages in the league, Bonds is in a slump, and lately, A.J. Pierzynski has also fallen. However, Marquis Grissom looks to be coming out of his slump, and Ray Durham continues to be the offense's catalyst.

The Giants' bullpen has also been worn down, especially with recent implosions by Matt Herges. However, Jason Christiansen and Scott Eyre have come into games and pitched very well in relief.

The Giants look to Dustin Hermanson (3-3, 4.40) to be their stopper opening the series against the Cardinals' Jeff Suppan (9-5, 3.48). Hermanson has not pitched well in his last few starts, but looks to bounce back to the dependable starter who gave his team a chance to win in every start he made. He's had success against his former team, with only Roger Cedeno hitting .333 against him, and Edgar Renteria has six hits in seventeen at-bats, including two doubles. Tony Womack is only hitting .182 against Hermanson, and Marlon Anderson only has three hits in twenty-one at-bats. Suppan has had success against the Giants, including a 5-42 by Ray Durham and an 0-10 by Marquis Grissom. However, A.J. Pierzynski has ten hits in twenty-eight at-bats, including three doubles and a triple.

In the second game, Brett Tomko (5-5, 4.71) will take the mound for the Giants against Chris Carpenter (10-4, 3.91). Tomko had back-to-back great starts against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and looks to continue that streak. Reggie Sanders has eight hits in twenty at-bats, including three doubles, a triple, and a homerun, and Cedeno has nine hits in twenty at-bats, including a double. Scott Rolen is also 7-17 with a triple and a homerun against Tomko, but Renteria is only hitting .188. The Giants have hit Carpenter well, with Durham hitting .286 with a double, and Deivi Cruz has eight hits in twenty-one at-bats, including three doubles.

For the series finale, Jerome Williams (9-6, 4.41) will be handed the ball against the Cardinals' Matt Morris (10-6, 4.62). Williams had a solid start in his last outing, and hasn't had much experience against the Cardinals. Renteria has the most success against Williams, with three hits in seven at-bats. However, Rolen and Albert Pujols are both 0-7 against Williams, and Jim Edmonds is only 1-6. Morris has done well against the Giants, including having Bonds hit only .154 against him. Snow is just 2-11 and Grissom is only 2-10 against Morris, but Edgardo Alfonzo has seven hits in sixteen at-bats, including two doubles.

Herges (4-4, 5.89) has been in a funk recently. He has not been able to get any outs coming out of the bullpen, and the Cardinals won't be an easy opponent for him. Rolen is 4-6, and Ray Lankford is 3-5. The Cardinals are hitting .360 as a team against Herges. For the Cardinals, Jason Isringhausen (3-2, 2.53) has been having a great year, and he's been exceptionally good lately. He's also done well against the Giants, including limiting Bonds to only one hit in twelve at-bats.



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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