After taking Independence Day off, Barry Bonds is expected to resume his chase of Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record Thursday night when the San Francisco Giants close out a three-game set with the Cincinnati Reds.
Bonds, who was recently voted by fans to start in Tuesday’s All-Star game at San Francisco, pulled within four homers of Aaron’s record of 755 on Tuesday with a two-run shot off Aaron Harang in a 7-3 loss for the Giants (36-46).
With Wednesday’s game being played in the afternoon, Giants manager Bruce Bochy opted to rest Bonds and his achy legs, the usual move for a quick turnaround in the schedule.
“I talked to Barry quite a while here,” Bochy said. “It’s general soreness. He talked about doing something to get ready. I said, ‘Let’s give you a day today.’ With the travel, a night game to day game, I’d rather give him a day to get fresh for the rest of the road trip. … We’ll see how it goes. If he feels good, he’ll play the rest of them.”
That could mean four consecutive days in the lineup for Bonds heading into the All-Star break.
Without the slugger on Wednesday, the Giants beat Cincinnati 9-5 as Fred Lewis, Bonds’ fill-in, hit a grand slam in the fourth inning to become the first San Francisco rookie to hit two in a season.
“We were joking around on the bench,” Lewis said. “The trainer was like, ‘C’mon, Barry.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, I am Barry today. I’m playing left field.’”
Bonds has been hot lately, going 11-for-24 (.458) with three homers in his last nine games.
Matt Morris (7-4, 3.25 ERA) hopes Bonds can keep that up as he looks for some help after a solid outing on Friday was wasted due to a two-run error. The right-hander allowed three runs - one earned - and 10 hits in seven innings of a 4-3, 10-inning loss to Arizona.
Morris has been effective at Great American Ball Park, going 1-1 with a 1.89 ERA.
The Reds (32-52), owners of the worst record in the NL, hope Ken Griffey Jr. can help them solve Morris and win a three-game set for the first time since taking two of three from Cleveland June 8-10. Cincinnati is 7-13 since that series and has split two games under interim manager Pete Mackanin, who replaced the fired Jerry Narron on Monday.
Griffey, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs Wednesday, is 6-for-19 (.316) with three home runs against Morris. Another homer would move him into a tie for sixth all-time with Frank Robinson at 586.
The Reds could use another solid effort from Bronson Arroyo (2-9, 4.89), who allowed one run and six hits in seven innings Friday before the bullpen allowed three runs in the eighth of a 4-2 loss to St. Louis.
“I haven’t exactly been throwing good start after good start out there, so I have nothing to complain about,” said Arroyo, who is 0-7 with a 6.55 ERA in 10 starts since his last victory on May 6. “That’s the way things are going this year. Even when I throw well, I don’t get a win.”
Arroyo threw a three-hitter in his last start against the Giants, a 3-0 win on Sept. 5.
He has had success against Bonds, holding him hitless in five at-bats while walking him four times.