San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds Series Preview

D WizzleSenior Analyst IJune 9, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 06:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Washington Nationals during an MLB game at AT&T Park on June 6, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Dusty Baker and the Reds head out to the West Coast for a seven-game road trip starting Thursday night in San Francisco. They will play four games in San Francisco before heading to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers.

The Reds are in third place in the NL Central and are five games back of the first-place St. Louis Cardinals.

The two best hitters on the Reds are Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. The good news for the Giants is that they are both left-handed and lefties don't usually fare very well in AT&T Park.

Besides Votto and Bruce, the only other dangerous bat in their lineup belongs to 2B Brandon Phillips. 3B Scott Rolen is still a good hitter but he has been ill with a throat issue.

The Giants will see two former teammates in this series as SS Edgar Renteria and OF Fred Lewis will be getting their World Series rings Thursday.

Neither Renteria nor Lewis has contributed much to the Reds' offense so far this season. Lewis gets an occasional start in left field against right-handed pitching, while Renteria is backing up the offensively inept Paul Janish.

The pitching matchups are: Johnny Cueto vs. Madison Bumgarner, Thursday; Travis Wood vs. Ryan Vogelsong, Friday; Mike Leake vs. Tim Lincecum, Saturday afternoon; and Edinson Volquez vs. Jonathan Sanchez, Sunday night.

The Reds have the better offense while the Giants have a superior bullpen. All four games will probably come down to the late innings and the bullpens.

The Giants make most starting pitchers look like Cy Young, so don't expect their hitters to do well against any of the Reds' starters.

Sunday's game will be shown on ESPN and features two pitchers that love to walk batters in Sanchez and Volquez.

The four-game series is crucial for both teams even though we are still in June.

The Reds don't want to fall too far behind first place, while the Giants must show they can still win games without Buster Posey behind the plate and batting cleanup.