August 3-August 5, Cincinnati Reds

After a much needed off-day, the Giants welcome the Reds into town for the first and only time this season. The Giants have been beat up after the All-Star break, and are looking to start a new winning streak starting with this series against the Reds, who are struggling to keep themselves at .500.

An off-day is exactly what the Giants need. Be it an excuse for the way they've been playing, or be it the real reason... But the Giants have an extra day to give themselves a break mentally and physically. After a long roadtrip and a tough series at home against the best team in the league, the Giants hope to be refreshed as they make for a stretch run into the final two months of the season.

Pitching has definitely been the story. There is no way the Giants will start winning if their bullpen never gives them a chance to. The offense has been quiet, save for the second game against the Cardinals in the first inning, and the defense has been sloppy. The Giants will need to start helping themselves if they wish to continue contending in this division.

In the opening game of the series, Corey Lidle (6-9, 5.32) will pitch for Cincinnati against the Giants' Dustin Hermanson (4-4, 4.59). Although Lidle has not had his best year, he's always been solid against the Giants, holding them to .192 as a team against him. Deivi Cruz has the most at-bats with nineteen, but only has two hits, one of which is a double. A.J. Pierzynski is 3-15 with a double, and Michael Tucker is 3-13 with two doubles and a triple. The most success any other Giant has had would be Ray Durham and Ricky LeDee's 2-7. Barry Bonds is 1-9 against Lidle.

Hermanson had a shaky outing in his last start, but will look to rebound against a team he's had success against in the past. Sean Casey has had the best numbers against Hermanson, going 11-32 with six doubles. However, Barry Larkin is only 4-25 against Hermanson, and Ken Griffey, Jr. has only three hits in nineteen at-bats. John Vander Wal is 1-15 and Adam Dunn is 2-12.

In the second game, Jose Acevedo (4-10, 6.33) will pitch for the Reds, and Brett Tomko (5-6, 4.72) will go for the Giants. Acevedo has not faced the Giants at all, with only Hermanson going 0-3 against him and Tucker going 0-1. Tomko also had a bad outing in his last start, and the Reds have had decent success against him. Juan Castro is 5-14 against Tomko with a double and a jack, and Casey has four hits in thirteen at-bats, including a homerun. Larkin is 4-10 and Austin Kearns is 3-11 with a double and a jack.

For the third game, the Reds will send Aaron Harang to the mound, but the Giants are undecided on who will start. It would have been Jerome Williams' start, but he was just placed on the DL, and the Giants have not brought anyone up to start in his spot. Another option for the Giants is to bump up Kirk Rueter to start for Williams after the off- day on Monday.

Danny Graves (1-4, 3.21) has been really good for the Reds this season, with 34 saves under his belt. However, he has not done real well against the Giants, and especially not against Bonds, who has 4 hits in seven at-bats, including a homerun. Matt Herges (4-4, 5.73) has not found himself yet. Along with the rest of the Giants' fatigued bullpen, they have failed to keep the Giants close in late games. The Reds will be no exception, who are batting .367 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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