The Full Count: Bonds keeps creeping closer


1. 753: Before Thursday’s game, Barry Bonds was in a slump that included no hits since July 6 and no homers since July 3. Then he broke out of his slump in the biggest way possible, with his best game of the season. Bonds smacked two homers, giving him 753 for his career. He also went 3-3 with three runs and six RBIs. Now he is so close to the record, we can start to predict when he might break it. If this is the start of a nice streak for Bonds, then he should hit 756 next week at home against the Braves or Marlins. If he starts to struggle again, it might take until mid-August. Regardless of when the record is broken, it’s impossible to deny it will happen soon after Thursday’s performance. But no matter what happens, the Giants are still awful. They lost 9-8 to the Cubs despite Barry’s effort, putting them at 1-6 since the All Star break. They now have the National League’s worst record at 39-54. The Giants will travel to Milwaukee over the weekend.

2. Chris Young for Cy Young: After San Diego starter Chris Young’s superb 2006 season, many baseball experts said he would not nearly as successful this year. He’s proven them all wrong with a simply unbelievable year. Young pitched seven shutout innings on Thursday, lowering his ERA to a league-leading 1.85. It was Young’s sixth scoreless effort in his last nine starts. He also leads the league in WHIP (1.00), opponent’s batting average (.187), and opponent’s OPS (.531). He has dominated ridiculously at home, with a 0.73 ERA and five earned runs in 62 innings. Though few have heard of him, Chris Young (at this point) absolutely deserves the NL Cy Young.

3. Ace is Out: The Cardinals’ struggles will continue for the foreseeable future, as their ace, Chris Carpenter, will not return to the rotation until mid-2008. That’s because he will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow ligament. Without Carpenter, the St. Louis starters cannot be good enough to carry the team to the playoffs. They will have to wait until 2009 at the earliest to see postseason action again, most likely. Carpenter had 51 wins from 2004-06, ranking third in the majors, according to ESPN.com.

Player of the Day: Barry Bonds, Giants: 3-3, 3 runs, 2 HRs (19, 753), 6 RBIs in a 9-8 loss to the Cubs.

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