Series Preview: Giants vs. Dodgers

The Giants will enter LALA land with intentions of redeeming themselves for the Colorado series. This will be difficult, as the Dodgers are the favorite to win the NL West. The Giants will need at least a split in this four-game series to stay in serious contention for the division.

Game #1: Matt Cain (6-6, 5.05) vs. Mark Hendrickson (4-9, 3.71)
Cain did well in his last start, striking out 11 in six innings as a career high, but didn't get the win. He will look to continue his success in his young season against a team he's never faced. The only player who has seen him is Nomar Garciaparra, who is 0-3 with a strikeout.

Hendrickson was struggling a bit in his first start with the Dodgers, but his ERA is respectable. Randy Winn is 4-13 against Hendrickson. Barry Bonds and Omar Vizquel are both 1-4, and Steve Finley and Pedro Feliz are both 0-3.

The Edge: Tie
Cain and Hendrickson are having similar seasons. They both show flashes of brillance, but their record doesn't show it. It will be a toss up on which pitcher either team gets.

Matt Morris (7-7, 4.12) vs. Chad Billingsley (0-2, 4.91)
Morris has been pitching very well lately. Jeff Kent is 18-54 against Morris with two doubles, a triple, eight strikeouts and four jacks. Kenny Lofton is 9-25 with a double, but Ramon Martinez is only 5-25 with four doubles and Bill Mueller is just 4-19 with two doubles. Rafael Furcal is 3-18 with four punchouts and Cesar Izturis is 3-15 with a double.

Billingsley has never faced anyone in the Giants' lineup. This rookie is struggling so far this season, going without a win.

The Edge: Giants
Morris has been turning in solid outing after outing. Billingsley is having a frustrating rookie season, but he does have good stuff.

Noah Lowry (3-5, 3.88) vs. Derek Lowe (7-4, 3.49)
Lowry has been struggling a bit lately, but will look to find his groove against a team he's done well against. Furcal is 2-9, Kent is 2-8 with two homeruns, Izturis is 0-8 and Olmedo Saenz is 0-6 with three strikeouts against Lowry. Garciaparra is 3-8 with a double and a jack, Jose Cruz, Jr. is 3-6 with a jack and Martinez is 2-6 with a triple.

Lowe is having another good season. Winn is 10-33 against Lowe with three doubles and a triple. Ray Durham is 8-24 with three doubles and Feliz is 4-12 with two jacks. Vizquel is only 7-31 against Lowe with three doubles. Todd Greene is only 1-11 against Lowe, so Eliezer Alfonzo will mostlikely get the start in this game.

The Edge: Dodgers
Lowry has been struggling, and Lowe has once against risen to his role, which is being the ace of the Dodgers' pitching staff.

Jason Schmidt (6-4, 2.69) vs. Aaron Sele (5-2, 3.05)
Schmidt received a deserving spot on the NL All-Star team with his excellent season. Kent is 7-30 with two doubles and a jack, Furcal is 7-28 with a double and six strikeouts, J.D. Drew is 3-27 with a double, a triple and 13 strikeouts, Lofton is 6-23 with a double, a triple and a round tripper and Cruz is 2-14 with a triple and a jack against Schmidt. Izturis is 7-23 with a jack and Garciaparra is 3-10 with two doubles.

Sele is also having a decent season. Durham is only 11-61 against him with five doubles and 13 punchouts. Vizquel is 19-50 with two doubles, two triples and a jack, and Winn is 9-29 with three doubles and a triple. Finley is only 2-13 with a jack, but Mark Sweeney is 3-8 with a homerun against Sele.

The Edge: Giants
The Giants have an ace of their own. Even though Sele is having a commendable season, Schmidt is having an outstanding season.

Closing it Out: Armando Benitez (8, 2.21) vs. Danny Baez (9, 4.04)
Benitez has been finding his groove again, and closed out a game for the Giants in San Diego solidly. He will look to continue another team he has good numbers against. Garciaparra is 2-12 with a double, Sandy Alomar, Jr. is 3-9 with a jack, Ricky Ledee is 1-9 with a double and Furcal is 1-9. Cruz is 0-7, Lofton is 1-6, but Kent is 3-6 with two four-baggers against Benitez.

Baez has been doing a decent job for Eric Gagne. Durham is 6-15 against Baez with two doubles, and Winn is 4-11. Finley is 2-4 with two doubles, but Feliz is 0-4. Lance Niekro is 2-2 and Bonds is 1-2 with a double.

The Edge: Dodgers
Even though Benitez is starting to come back into the closing role, he has still not been dominate. Jeremy Accardo, his replacement, has also been struggling lately. Baez has been more consistent, and he also has a backup, Takashi Saito, who already has six saves for the season on a wicked 2.03 ERA.



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