August 24-August 26, Florida Marlins Series

Wait, Paul Lo Duca? Is it September already? No, not yet, but it's sure funny to see Lo Duca in a uniform other than Dodger blue... The main concern is whether or not he continues to kill the Giants on another team. San Francisco, however, is on a hot streak, winning nine of their last eleven games, but they begin a tough road trip against two of the top contending teams in the National League.

Things are starting to come together for the Giants, and this is their latest test as they go through one of the toughest parts of their schedule.

Barry Bonds is on a roll, and the Giants hope their hottest hitter next to Bonds, J.T. Snow, will be ready for action in this series. Snow missed the series against the New York Mets because of a bursa sac.

Jason Schmidt was scheduled to start the series opener in Florida, but in his last last injured his groin. It is not believed to be serious, so Giants' fans may relax, but as a precautionary move, the Giants and Schmidt decided to push Schmidt's next start to Saturday in Atlanta.

In place of Schmidt will be Wayne Franklin (2-0, 5.36), who pitched an excellent game in his last spot start against the Montreal Expos. Against Franklin, Florida will send A.J. Burnett (3-6, 4.36) to the mound. Franklin has decent success against the Marlins, including limiting Luis Castillo to a 2-8, although the two hits are a triple and a homerun. Mike Lowell is 1-8 against Franklin, and Juan Encarnacion is 0-6, but Juan Pierre is 2-5 with a double.

Burnett hasn't faced the Giants much, but Edgardo Alfonzo is 6-13 with a double, and Ricky Ledee is 4-9 with two jacks. However, other than Bonds' two hits, including a homerun, and Pedro Feliz's double, Burnett has kept the rest of the Giants hitless.

For the second game of the series, the Marlins will get to be the next team who faces Noah Lowry (3-0, 3.54) and his nasty change-up. Florida will have their own young and rising star on the mound, the Bay Area native, Dontrelle Willis (9-9, 3.91). Lowry has faced two of the Marlins before, the former Dodgers, Encarnacion and Paul Lo Duca, who are both 0-3 against Lowry.

Willis was knocked around in his last start against the Giants, losing a nine run lead en route of a 12-9 loss at SBC Park. Marquis Grissom is 3-3 with a jack, and Bonds and Yorvit Torrealba are 1-1.

In the series finale, Brett Tomko (6-6, 5.11) will try to bounce back from yet another shaky outing. The Marlins will counter with Josh Beckett (5-7, 4.26), who's having another solid year. Lo Duca is 7-24 against Tomko with two doubles, a triple, and a homerun. Encarnacion is 9-23 with a triple and two jacks, but Pierre is just 2-20 with a double. Castillo also has bad numbers against Tomko, going 3-14, and Lowell is just 2-12 with a double.

Alfonzo has the most at-bats against Beckett with nine, and only has one hit but it was a homerun. Ledee is 4-8, and Torrealba is 3-7, but Snow is 0-7.

Ever since moving to the closer role, Dustin Hermanson (5-5, 4.40) has been good for the Giants, rounding up a solid bullpen. He has done well against the Marlins, including limiting Castillo to just six hits in twenty-seven at-bats. Alex Gonzalez is just 2-16, Lo Duca is 1-12, and Lowell is 2-11.

If the Giants want to win, they would have to make sure they have the lead going into the ninth inning because Armando Benitez (2-1, 1.16) is having a great year with the Marlins. He has also done well against the Giants, with Grissom having the most hits against him at three. Michael Tucker is 0-8, Ledee is 0-6, and both Bonds and Alfonzo are 0-5 against Benitez.



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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