August 16-August 18, Montreal Expos Series

The Expos are on a hot streak coming into the four game set in three days at SBC Park. In a series that features a doubleheader, the steaming Expos hope to continue playing for their pride, but the Giants have the postseason on their minds.

The Giants haven't been cold either. Coming off a sweep of Philadelphia and a winning roadtrip, the Giants take that momentum back home in hopes of gaining ground in the Wild Card race and/or the division.

Their hitting and their pitching have been able to give them a chance to win. J.T. Snow is on fire, and he's hitting over .300 after starting the season with a sub .250 average. A.J. Pierzynski is also starting to hit, as is Michael Tucker. As long as these guys produce, they will find themselves batting around Barry Bonds more often.

The story of the season for the Giants has been their bullpen, or lack thereof. However, almost miraculously, they found a bullpen within their team, and that has worked out for them in two series in a row already.

For the series opener, John Patterson (2-2, 4.10) will pitch against the Giants' Kirk Rueter (6-9, 5.15). Patterson has faced the Giants in a small amount of time, with Marquis Grissom going 2-5 against him. Deivi Cruz also has 5 at-bats against Patterson, but only one hit, and Ray Durham has one hit in four at-bats.

Rueter was rocked around in his last start, lasting only five innings and giving up six runs. He hasn't faced many of the Expos, but they have done well against him. Both Tony Batista and Jose Vidro are 5-15, and Vidro has a double and a jack. The other two who have faced Rueter in the past are Alex S. Gonzalez, who is 1-5 with a double, and former Giant pitcher, Livan Hernandez, who is 1-4.

Rocky Biddle's start was bumped up to the next game for the Expos, so Sun-Woo Kim (3-4, 5.50) will be making the start against Jason Schmidt (15-4, 2.59). Only three Giants have faced Kim in the past with limited at-bats.Cruz is 1-4, Durham is 0-2, and Rickey Ledee is 0-1.

Schmidt was back to sharp form in his last start, dominating to his 15th (league leading) win. Vidro is 5-18 against Schmidt, and Brad Wilkerson is 3-6 with a triple. Other than that, Schmidt has done well against the Expos while facing them for just a limited amount of time.

The last day of the series will feature a rare doubleheader, making up for a game that was rained out in Puerto Rico earlier this season. For the first game, Biddle (3-6, 7.35) will take the mound against rookie, Brad Hennessey (1-1, 4.66), who will be making his third major league start.

Biddle has done well against the Giants in the past, including limiting Cruz to hitting only .222 against him. Edgardo Alfonzo has two hits in five at-bats, and Ledee and Pierzynski both have a hit in three at-bats, which were both doubles. Bonds is 1-1 with a double, and Dustan Mohr is 1-1 with a jack.

In the second game of the doubleheader, and possibly the last time the Expos will ever be at SBC Park, Wayne Franklin (1-0, 5.97) will be activated from the DL to face the Expos, but Montreal have yet to determine their starter.

Franklin has not done well against the Expos, but Gonzalez is 0-6 against him. However, Vidro and Wilkerson are both 3-6, and Wilkerson has a double and two homeruns. Jarney Carroll is 2-4 and Henry Mateo is 2-3.

It may still be a bit early to tell, but the Giants have found their bullpen. New closer Dustin Hermanson (4-5, 4.51) has completed three saves in three opportunities for the Giants, one of which was a one run save in a crucial game. Hermanson has done well against his former team, with Batista hitting just .267 against him, and Gonzalez going 0-6.

Expos' closer, Chad Cordero (3-2, 3.13), has never given up a hit to any of the Giants, but Grissom and Alfonzo have the most at-bats with two. Bonds, Tucker, Cruz, and Pedro Feliz are all 0-1.



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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