April 22-24, Milwaukee Brewers Series

After a painful roadtrip and an even more painful losing streak, the Giants took their last game and hope it will carry on to this series. The Giants need to take this opportunity to get back into the division race, and hopefully with the return of some key players, they will be able to do just that.

No, Barry Bonds isn't coming back yet. However, it is finally time for Felipe Alou to show off his son to San Francisco fans. Earlier this season, Moises Alou was unable to gather a hit, and it was concluded that his struggles were due to a calf injury. Fortunately, recent reports have Alou smashing the ball during batting practice, and his return for the series opener is likely, and Saturday's game should be definite.

In addition to Alou, J.T. Snow should be healed by the time this series rolls around. The Giants need both of their bats in order to kick their offense up another level, and by another level I mean actually scoring some runs. With the added offense of Alou and Snow, including Edgardo Alfonzo's hot bat and contributions from Pedro Feliz and the top of the lineup with Omar Vizquel and Ray Durham, the Giants should have more than enough swing to keep themselves close to the division leading Dodgers.

The lack of offense in the past week has taken away what a great job the bullpen has done. After a horrible start, Giants' relievers bounced back very strongly in the last couple series, and there is no longer a heart sinking feeling when Felipe signals to the bullpen. However, after they have all been used to pitch in the last game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, which went to thirteen innings, the question now lies in whether or not the relievers are ready to work another day in a row, because it is a certain that the bullpen will be called upon with Kirk Rueter pitching the first game.

In the series opener, Victor Santos (0-0, 2.08) will be pitching against Rueter (0-1, 7.62). Santos has not faced many Giants, and has not pitched against most of them. The Giant with the most at-bats against Santos is Alou, who is 2-11, so he may as well sit out the first game he's eligible to play. The only Giant who has been able to read Santos is Deivi Cruz, who is 2-3. It wouldn't be a dumb move to let Cruz play. Afterall, he did come into last night's game in the bottom of the 13th and ended the game on the first pitch he saw. This guy's ready to play some more.

Damian Miller has the most hits against Rueter, and has also faced Rueter the most with a .333 average including seven doubles and one roundtripper. Other than that, Rueter has faired well against this Brewers' lineup, and will be looking to bounce back after a few games without bullpen or run support.

For the second game, it will be Chris Capuano (0-1, 4.41) for the Brew Crew, and Brett Tomko (0-3, 6.75) for the Giants. Alou is 3-8 with a homerun against Capuano, and Marquis Grissom is 3-4 with two jacks. Other than that, the Giants haven not been able to touch Capuano.

Against Tomko, Geoff Jenkins and Jeff Cirillo have done well in the past, with a .318 and a .450 average, respectively. Jenkins has two doubles and two homeruns, while Cirillo has five doubles and one jack.

In the series finale, Gary Glover (0-1, 4.38) will take the mound against the Giants' Jerome Williams (0-1, 4.63). Vizquel has faced Glover the most, with 22 at-bats, but has not had much success against hime with only three hits. However, one of those hits was a triple and another a roundtripper. Michael Tucker has the next most at-bats, but also hasn't had much luck against Glover with two hits and five strikeouts.

Williams has not faced many of the Brewers, and Jenkins has the best record against him, going 2-3. Junior Spivey is 2-6, and Wes Helms is 1-3.

Sara Kwan is a writer and co-publisher for SFDugout.com. Got a bone to pick? Just want to say hi? Hit me up: kwanchino@alpha-q.net.

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