Cincinnati (69-83) at San Francisco (67-85)

Light Rain Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 51° F
  • Game info: 10:15 pm EDT Thu Sep 20, 2007
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Barry Bonds might be heading back to San Francisco for the last time in his career.

The San Francisco Giants kick off what could be Bonds’ final homestand with the team Thursday when they open a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.

Bonds received a $15.8 million, one-year contract with the Giants (67-85) for this season, but might not be back in San Francisco next year. The 43-year-old slugger could retire, or he could move to an American League team and become a designated hitter.

“I’ll deal with that when the time comes,” Bonds said. “It’s up to them. I don’t run the team. I’m not doing any interviews about my future.”

However, Bonds, who became baseball’s all-time home run leader on Aug. 7 when he hit No. 756 against Washington, might not even play in Thursday’s series opener. He has been out since Saturday because of a sprained right big toe, and manager Bruce Bochy said his slugger hopes to play once in these four games.

“I talked to him today. He thinks he’s going to be fine,” Bochy told the Giants’ official Web site.

Bonds owns a .322 batting average with 59 homers and 166 walks in 177 career games against the Reds.

The Reds (69-83) will also likely be without one of their biggest veteran offensive threats. Right fielder Ken Griffey Jr. left Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning with a lower abdominal strain.

“Hopefully it’s not as bad as it feels,” said Griffey, who will return to Cincinnati on Thursday to be examined by team medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek.

Griffey is seven homers shy of 600 - and 169 behind Bonds’ total of 762.

The Reds have dropped four of their last five games. Adam Dunn homered Wednesday, giving him 40 for a club-record fourth straight season.

The Giants, meanwhile, have dropped six of seven and are mired in last place in the NL West. Randy Winn homered on Wednesday and Kevin Frandsen was 3-for-5 with two doubles.

San Francisco has won five of its last six home games against the Reds, dating to 2005.

In Thursday’s opener, the Giants will square off against Cincinnati prospect Homer Bailey (2-2, 6.99 ERA), who has not pitched in the majors since July 7 against Arizona. The 21-year-old right-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in three of his six starts for the Reds, but yielded five or more in the other three, while walking a total of 21 batters in 28 1-3 innings.

“I saw potential,” Pete Mackanin, who saw Bailey make one start after becoming the Reds interim manager on July 3, told his team’s official Web site. “It’s all about command. A pitcher’s best friend is control and command of the fastball.”

Bailey spent more than month on the disabled list after being sent back to the minors. He made two starts for Class A Sarasota when he returned, going 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA, and has been throwing simulated games since the end of the minor league season.

He has never faced the Giants.

San Francisco counters with Matt Cain (7-15, 3.71), who is getting an average of just 3.51 runs of support per start - the second-lowest mark in the majors. He allowed just one run and one hit in six innings Saturday, but was saddled with a 6-0 loss in San Diego.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t get a run for him,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “You look at the games the kid has thrown, and you can’t help but feel for the kid.”

Cain has won each of his previous two starts against the Reds, though, while receiving total 13 runs of support. He gave up four runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 9-5 victory at Cincinnati on July 4.

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Starting Pitchers

H. Bailey Cin vs. M. Cain SF
4-2 Record 7-16
5.76 ERA 3.65
28 K 163
28 BB 79
1.57 WHIP 1.26

Scoreboard

Thursday, Sep 20