Babe Ruth is one of the greatest heroes in New York sports history. Barry Bonds certainly won’t be treated that way for passing him.
Following a four-day break, including a rainout Friday, Bonds is expected back in the San Francisco Giants’ lineup to make his first appearance of the season in the Big Apple against the New York Mets in a scheduled doubleheader.
Bonds, though, may get an extended break. The forecast calls for windy conditions and up to an inch of rain.
Should the games be played, this would be Bonds’ second appearance since hitting his 715th homer Sunday to move ahead of Ruth. Though that historic homer knocked a legendary New York Yankee down the list, Mets fans are unlikely to provide Bonds with the warmest of receptions after steroid rumors and a widely-perceived unfriendly personality that surround the seven-time NL MVP.
“I hope that our fans are different, I really do,” Mets left fielder Cliff Floyd said. “We have really smart, intelligent fans in this city. I mean, these fans know the game, they know baseball, they appreciate it. They’ll have their say, but I just hope they give him the benefit of the doubt.
“But it’s going to be tough. The Babe was here.”
After managing only a single in four at-bats in a 5-1 loss at Florida on Monday, Bonds missed the next game due to a sore back and sat out Wednesday’s finale against the Marlins because it had been a scheduled day off for him.
If Bonds plays in the opener, he will face Orlando Hernandez (3-4, 6.04 ERA), making his Shea Stadium debut. El Duque was acquired late last month from Florida for Jorge Julio to shore up an injury-riddled staff.
Hernandez made his debut as a Met Sunday at Florida, giving up three runs and five hits with seven strikeouts over five innings in a 7-3 win and his first win since April 26.
Hernandez, who spent the first seven years of his career in the AL before being shipped to Arizona by the Chicago White Sox before the start of the season, has never faced Bonds.
Matt Cain (3-5, 5.07) has been outstanding in two starts since returning to the rotation and gets the start in the opener for San Francisco (27-26). The right-hander pitched a one-hitter at Oakland in a 6-0 win on May 21, and gave up two hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-1 victory over Colorado on Saturday.
“I feel good at this point and I’m just going to take it start by start,” said Cain, who leads all rookies with 40 strikeouts. “I feel like I’m able to locate the fastball on both sides of the plate, and that’s big for me.”
Cain faced the Mets (32-20) on April 24, and picked up his first win of the season after allowing two runs and five hits over seven innings in a 6-2 victory.
Tom Glavine (8-2, 2.59 ERA) will try to continue his resurgence when he takes the mound for New York in the nightcap. Glavine, off to one of the best starts of his career to move within 17 wins of 300, enters this contest having won six straight starts, allowing 11 runs in 40 2-3 innings over that span.
The last loss Glavine endured came at San Francisco on April 24, when he allowed a season-high six runs in 6 1-3 innings.
Glavine took a perfect game into the sixth before allowing a hit in his last start, pitching 7 2-3 strong innings in a 7-4 win over Florida on Saturday.
“I feel confident going out there right now,” said Glavine, who is 4-1 with a 1.38 ERA in six starts at Shea Stadium. “I feel good about what I’m doing, and because of that, I feel I have a chance to go every night and pitch deep into the game.”
He will face Jamey Wright (5-4, 4.43), who started for San Francisco when Bonds hit his milestone homer. The right-hander saw his three-start winning streak end Sunday, when he gave up six runs and 10 hits through 3 2-3 innings in a 6-3 loss to the Rockies.
Wright took his first loss of the season on April 25 against the Mets at home. He gave up four runs and 10 hits over eight innings to fall to 1-3 in his career against New York.
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