Bonds Slumping

Even though the San Francisco Giants haven't received much production from Barry Bonds, their dominant starting pitching has enabled them to embark on a winning streak.

The Giants hope Bonds can shake his struggles after an extended rest and Matt Cain can continue their run of strong pitching when they host the Colorado Rockies in the opener of a three-game series Friday.

Oddsmakers have made San Francisco -165 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on San Francisco -165 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

The Giants (24-22) have won four straight games despite Bonds being in an 0-for-10 slump and not having driven in a run since May 8. The left fielder sat out Wednesday's 9-1 home victory over Houston that completed a three-game sweep, giving him two days' rest before his expected return to the lineup Friday.

A resurgence by Bonds could help the Giants extend their longest win streak since they took eight straight from April 18-26.

Bonds, though, hasn't homered since May 8 and is batting .152 (5-for-33) in 12 games since that 4-1 loss to the New York Mets. He is 10 homers shy of tying Hank Aaron's all-time record of 755.

"It goes to show you that he's human, too, and he's going to go through his ups and downs during the course of the season," manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants' official Web site. "I expect when he comes back, we'll see him start to swing the bat the way we know he can."

The Giants' last loss came in Cain's previous start. Cain (2-4, 3.30 ERA) pitched well, allowing three runs, six hits and four walks while striking out a season-high nine in 6 1-3 innings, but lost 4-2 at Oakland on Saturday.

All the runs Cain gave up came on Jack Cust's first-inning home run.

"That has been the story of Cain. One pitch makes the difference in his starts all the time," shortstop Omar Vizquel said. "He just has to be able to recognize those situations where he can try to concentrate a little more and not make those kinds of mistakes."

The right-hander is 1-3 with a 6.04 ERA in his last four starts, with his only victory in that span coming against Colorado. Cain gave up one run and five hits with six strikeouts in six innings of a 15-2 win May 13 at Coors Field - the only start in that span in which he received more than two runs of support.

Cain is 4-2 with a 2.52 ERA in eight starts against the Rockies, including 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA in four outings at AT&T Park.

San Francisco has allowed four runs during its win streak.

The Rockies (20-27) have also been getting strong pitching of late, as Colorado gave up one run in winning its last two games against Arizona, including Wednesday's 2-0 victory.

Right-hander Jason Hirsh (2-4, 4.28) will look to continue that run of dominant pitching and end his three-game losing streak. He has a 5.28 ERA in his last five starts.

Hirsh's only start against San Francisco came April 17, when gave up three runs and six hits while striking out five in seven innings of a 5-3 home win. He didn't get the decision.

Hirsh allowed four runs and six hits in five innings of Sunday's 10-5, 12-inning defeat to Kansas City.

"I was disappointed with the way I threw," Hirsh told the Rockies' official Web site. "I had command in the bullpen. Everything was working there. But coming in the game, I just flushed it all down the toilet. It was a big disappointment for me."

Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins is batting .409 (9-for-22) with two homers and four RBIs against Cain.

by: Dave Michael - thespread.com – Email Us

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