Bonds has gotten little to hit in his limited experience against James, but he may not even face him Wednesday night. The slugger’s quest to break Hank Aaron’s career home run record could be put on hold when the San Francisco Giants (41-57) and Atlanta Braves (54-47) continue their four-game set.
Bonds has 753 home runs - two shy of tying Aaron’s record - but he has connected only twice in his last 12 games, both coming Thursday in a loss to the Chicago Cubs. Bonds, playing on his 43rd birthday Tuesday night, went 1-for-5 as San Francisco lost 7-5 in 13 innings to Atlanta with commissioner Bud Selig in attendance.
With that game lasting 4 hours, 8 minutes and Bonds going the distance, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he will wait until Wednesday to decide if his star would start in the third game of the series.
“I’ll see how he’s doing,” Bochy said. “Barry’s wait and see.”
Bonds walked in the 13th inning Tuesday for his 100th of the year, giving him 100 or more walks in a major league-record 14 seasons to pass Babe Ruth. Bonds has walked six times in his last five games.
Bonds has walked twice and was hit by a pitch in his only three plate appearances against James (8-7, 3.58 ERA), who will take the mound for the Braves on Wednesday.
If Bonds does play Wednesday, he could see more of the same from James as spectators - including Selig - continue to wait for the home run mark to be broken. Selig said he will try to attend the record-breaking game, after stating as recently as last weekend that he was undecided on the matter.
“Throughout this season, I have watched Barry Bonds’ pursuit of the home run record. Now that he is on the verge of tying the record, the time has come to announce that I will make every attempt to attend the record-setting moment,” Selig said in a statement Tuesday.
If Bonds does play, he’ll be facing a pitcher who’s been outstanding in his last four starts. James is 2-0 with a 1.09 ERA over that span, limiting opponents to a .186 average. The left-hander gave up one run and six hits in seven innings Friday night in Atlanta’s 4-2 loss to St. Louis.
James is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in one start and two relief appearances against the Giants.
Atlanta won its second straight Tuesday to remain within three games of the first-place New York Mets in the NL East. The Braves have matched a season high with three straight road victories, and have won six of seven away from Turner Field.
Atlanta lost a 4-0 lead with two outs in the ninth as closer Bob Wickman blew his fifth save of the season, but managed to overcome it.
San Francisco, meanwhile, has lost three straight and 10 of 13, and has one of the NL’s worst records.
On Wednesday, the Giants will hand the ball to Noah Lowry (10-7, 3.55 ERA), who’s 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in his last two starts. The left-hander allowed four runs - three earned - in six innings to beat Milwaukee 8-4 on Friday night.
Lowry is 0-1 with a 4.61 ERA in three career starts against the Braves, but 7-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 10 home starts this season.