Douglas Benton. 14th September, 2005 - 3:39 am
While the electricity was back in SBC Park on Monday night as Barry Bonds took his familiar position in left field, it won?t be Bonds who decides if the Giants? season continues come October. That burden rest with the team that has battled for 140+ games to give the Giants a chance once Bonds came back
While Bonds will affect how teams game plan the Giants, which should give Moises Alou and Ray Durham more pitches to drive, it will take awhile for Bonds to regain his form. Even though he did dazzle the baseball world with his near home run on Monday night, he still went 1-4 with a strikeout. This night is incredible for a player that hasn?t seen live pitching in more than a year, but it adds more proof that the end of this season will be a spring training for Bonds.
Pitching will also be aided by Bonds because they will have more runs to play with, but they still must perform well enough to give the Giants a chance to win every night. With the Giants down six games, they need to have a chance to win every game the rest of the season. If the starters can do this, they can then hand the game over to the bullpen, which is much improved with a solid backend of LaTroy Hawkins and Armando Benitez.
Defensively, the Giants will suffer a little bit with Bonds back, just because his flexibility and range won?t be up to par right away coming off his knee injury. This is where the trade that brought Randy Winn to San Francisco is so important. Winn possesses great range and will be able to cover up the dry areas left in the outfield by both Bonds and Alou.
So while Bonds will help the Giants as they make their push toward the playoffs, he will have to rely on his teammates to help him get there. Bonds has never been a great teammate, but he will have to become a good supporter of his teammates now if he wants a chance at a World Series ring, the only black mark on his resume.