What defines a good team is a team that is able to win at home and to win on the road. The Giants have always been a good road team, and have proven to be great at home as well with their recent 10-1 homestand. Everything was happening for the Giants... Good pitching, clutch hitting, solid defense... Everything is going well for the Giants in the second half of the season.
The Cubs stand as a .500 team, with ups and down throughout the season and through their recent games. They mirrored the Giants' last series, winning the first and the last games but losing the second.
The Giants won't be so easy on the Cubs because they Cubs took the series at Pac Bell earlier this season. The Giants will be going into the Windy City seeking revenge, and nothing will taste as great as beating their old manager and former teammates.
Things To Look For:
Damian Moss (9-6, 4.75 ERA)
Jason Schmidt (10-4, 2.41 ERA)
Kirk Rueter (7-3, 4.30 ERA)
Matt Clement (7-9, 4.37 ERA)
Kerry Wood (10-7, 3.38 ERA)
Carlos Zambrano (8-8, 3.26 ERA)
It seems the pitching match ups were just right for this series. Clement is the guy who you would want Moss to go up against, sitting on about the same ERA. Moss has been great since his return to the starting rotation and is gaining more confidence with every start.
The second match up is a duel for all baseball fans to drool over. Kerry Wood and Jason Schmidt. Two of the best arms in the league today go head to head, with Schmidt coming off a mild case of injury to his throwing arm, and Wood struggling as he is, this may be more of an interesting showdown than it appears.
Rueter's return from injury has given him a chance to bounce back from his rough outings. Zambrano has been great for the Cubs and is probably the Cubs' best starting pitcher next to Wood, which makes him a perfect match up against Rueter, who, arguably, may be the Giants' second best starter.
J.T. Snow (.273)
Andres Galarraga (.309)>
Eric Karros (.330)
Hee Seop Choi (.233)
Snow will return to the lineup after taking a few days off to nurse his earlier groin injury, but Galarraga has been delievering in Snow's place. Karros has great numbers against Giants pitching, and Choi is a fast rising bat for the Cubs.
Ray Durham (.288)
Neifi Perez (.276)
Mark Grudzielanek (.305)
Besides his two homerun game, Durham has been struggling recently. Perez has been a decent replacement off the bench, for both the second base and shortstop position, but has been playing too much. He'll need a few more days off and a few more pinch hits and less playing time to gather himself. Grudizielanek has been a consistent hitter recently for the Cubs, but has had not so great numbers against Giants pitching.
Rich Aurilia (.269)
Alex S. Gonzalez (.241)
Aurilia is starting to be consistent with his bat again, even though he's not launching balls into the bleachers. He will need to have more base hits, especially now with the starting lineup back, he will be in the bottom of the batting order and will have many RBI oppurtunities. Gonzalez has decent numbers against Giants pitching, but is three for fifteen against the three starters.
Edgardo Alfonzo (.243)
Pedro Feliz (.230)
Aramis Ramirez (.277)
Ramon Martinez (.275)
Lenny Harris (.178)
This will be the first time Ramirez faces the Giants as a Cub, being traded from the Pirates earlier last week. He has been struggling, even in Pittsburg, and has carried that into Chicago. Alfonzo was quietly getting back into his groove with an elevan game hitting streak, but his jammed finger has prevented him from playing as much as he could have. Feliz has been a great player off the bench, not just for Alfonzo, but also for left field and first base.
Benito Santiago (.289)
Yorvit Torrealba (.248)
Alberto Castillo (.300)
Damian Miller (.233)
Paul Bako (.200)
Santiago will return to the lineup for this series, the question is will he help his team out. Torrealba and Castillo have been doing great in the catcher's spot in Santiago's absence, which gives the Giants reassurance to know that it is possible to give Santiago more days off. Miller does not have good numbers in the season or against the Giants.
Barry Bonds (.331)
Moises Alou (.298)
Troy O'Leary (.220)
Bonds has been quietly raising his batting average, with some homeruns and a lot of walks. He has also been with his father, which has kept him from some games, but Bonds knows what's more important than the batting title, and that's his father. Alou (no, not Felipe) has been very consistent for the Cubs and has had a good history against Giant pitchers.
Marquis Grissom (.313)
Kenny Lofton (.271)
Trenidad Hubbard (.250)
Such as the game of baseball, a team faces a teammate who played a big role in getting them to the World Series last season. Lofton has not been that type of performer for the Pirates and looks to maybe change that as a Cub with his former manager. Grissom continues and continues to be consistent for the Giants, offensively and defensively. He just loves to play baseball.
Jose Cruz, Jr. (.253)
Sammy Sosa (.301)
Cruz has been struggling in the batter's box, but continues to be lights out defensively. He has good numbers against the Cubs pitching, but that average is from facing very few Cubs pitchers. Sosa has began to light up with his bat again, whether or not it's corked is another story.
Dave Veres has been a good arm coming out of the bullpen for the Cubs. The Giants bullpen continues to be consistent, being able to come into games for long relief or short relief.
Joe Borowski has an ERA of 2.85 with nineteen saves. Tim Worrell has an ERA of 1.89 with twenty-three saves. The numbers are close, but favor the Giants. Even if the close games get to the late innings, either closer will do the job for their respective teams.
Sara Kwan was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She currently writes game recaps, other articles, and is the Giant Prophet for SFDugout.com. Any comments or questions about the article, baseball, or the meaning of life can be sent to Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org
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