Series Preview: Giants vs. Astros

The Giants leave after a long homestand to travel to Houston for the Astros. The Giants just dropped two out of three games against their rivals, and they will need to take any wins they can get to climb out of the bottom of the NL West.

Game #1: Brad Hennessey (2-1, 3.08) vs. Taylor Buchholz (2-2, 3.82)
Hennessey is starting in place of the struggling Matt Cain. Hennessey has been reliable since he's been called up to help out a pitching staff that's been struggling overall. Preston Wilson is 0-6 against Hennessey, and Brad Ausmus, Adam Everett and Mike Lamb are all 0-3 with one strikeout each. The only Astro with more than one hit against Hennessey is Craig Biggio, who is 2-3, both being homeruns.

Buchholz has faced any Giant no more than two times. Barry Bonds, still stuck at 713 career smashes, is 0-2 against Buchholz. Randy Winn is 1-2, and Ray Durham and Pedro Feliz each have a hit against Buchholz. The rest of the Giants are either hitless against Buchholz or have not faced him.

The Edge: Tie
Hennessey and Buchholz have been solid this season. Hennessey has faced the Astros a little more than Buchholz faced the Giants, and both have good numbers against the opposing team. From what's on paper, it's tough to tell who has the advantage.

Game #2: Jamey Wright (3-3, 4.28) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (5-1, 3.02)
After a strong start, Wright has been pitching like a #5 starter. He has just been a victim of the lack of run support. He will need more runs against the Astros, who have good career numbers against Wright up and down their lineup. Biggio is 12-38 against Wright with three doubles, and Lance Berkman is 14-24 with four doubles and three jacks. Ausmus is 6-22 with two doubles, but Wilson is just 3-15.

Only one Giant has faced Rodriguez in their career, and it's Wright. He is 1-4 with one strikeout.

The Edge: Astros
Rodriguez will be a surprise for the Giants, which may or may not be to their advantage. Wright has faced the Astros, but has had bad numbers against them. Wright has not been pitching as well lately, and Rodriguez has been solid this season.

Game #3: Matt Morris (2-4, 6.20) vs. Fernando Nieve (1-1, 4.85)
Morris has also stammered off after a very strong start, and the Astros also have good career numbers against him. Berkman is 20-58 with three doubles and two roundtrippers, but 12 strikeouts. Ausmus is 16-55, and Lamb is 6-17 with a double and three jacks. However, Biggio is just 17-70 with five doubles and one homerun.

Nieve has only faced two Giants in his career, Jose Vizcaino and Mike Matheny. They are both 0-1.

The Edge: Tie
Morris has not been doing well after his first two starts. However, Nieve has been struggling a bit as well, and he has very limited experience against the Giants.

Closing it Out: Armando Benitez (2, 0.00) vs. Brad Lidge (11, 6.11)
Benitez is still sitting at two saves. He has limited experience against the Astros. Wilson is just 2-12 against Benitez, and Berkam is 2-7 with a double and a jack. Biggio is also 0-6 with three punchouts.

Lidge does have 11 saves, but he has also blown saves, including one against the Giants in their last meeting. Mathney is 0-4 with two strikeouts against Lidge, and Mark Sweeney is 0-3 with three punchouts. Steve Finley is 1-2, and Durham is 2-2 with a double.

The Edge: Astros
Lidge has had a few bad outings, but he's been solid behind 11 saves already this season. Benitez still needs opportunity to close and see how he is in the closing role.

Sara Kwan is a writer and co-publisher for Got a bone to pick? Just want to say hi? Comments about the article and/or the site? Hit me up: .

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