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Notes: Better year for Morris

6 July 2007 No Comment

Notes: Better year for Morris
07/06/2007 9:26 PM ET
By Brian Doolittle / Special to MLB.com

Matt Morris boasts a 3.55 ERA despite some recent rocky outings. (Al Behrman/AP)

ST. LOUIS — Giants starter Matt Morris is back in the city where he played for the first seven years of his pro career. However, he likely will not see any action in this weekend’s three-game set. Morris (7-5) drew the loss at Cincinnati on Thursday, allowing six runs on seven hits in six innings. Morris’ three poorest outings in 2007 have occurred over his past four starts.

“Matt came out of Spring Training throwing really well, and he’s overall just been a warrior this season. I love the way he competes,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

Morris’ three complete games are tied for the Major League lead and his 3.55 ERA remains well below the National League average of 4.28. Morris went 101-62 for the Cardinals.

“Last year, his back bothered him quite a bit, but now he’s the Matt we’ve all known for a long time.”

More big numbers for Bonds: Despite the saturated coverage of Barry Bonds’ home run chase, some may be overlooking the historic impact of his 2007 season. Not only is Bonds carrying a .514 on-base percentage entering play Friday, but he is on pace to post the best OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) ever for a player 40 years or older (minimum 300 plate appearances). He has a .617 slugging percentage and 86 walks, including 30 intentionally. Bonds will turn 43 later in July.

If Bonds maintains his OBP, it would be the 10th best in history. Bonds is also one homer away from Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk, whose 18 homers in 1991 are the most for a player who turned 43 or more during that particular season.

“I don’t see him sitting out this weekend. I also don’t really see him sitting out any other games to get the record at home. Our fans love him and it would be a perfect scenario, but we can’t just sit him,” Bochy said.

“Tony [La Russa] and I are similar. We pitch to Bonds and [Albert] Pujols because it sends a message to our pitcher to get these guys out,” said Bochy. “Plus, that is what fans come to watch.”

Bonds has hit 39 homers against the Cardinals but none at the new Busch Stadium. Bonds, who sat out Thursday, is 1-for-2 with a single and a walk against Friday’s starter, Mike Maroth, in his career. Bonds has played in 75 of San Francisco’s 82 games in 2007.

“They boo the pitcher when they walk him,” Giants reliever and longtime Cardinals pitcher Steve Kline said. “They boo him [Bonds] when he comes to the plate or hits a home run. It’s funny to see. But I know the classy people of St. Louis will handle it better than that.”

Lowry improving: Giants starter Noah Lowry (8-6, 3.46 ERA) started Friday searching for his third straight win. Lowry beat the Cardinals on April 19. In that game, he pitched seven innings and allowed two runs. He is 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA in three career starts against St. Louis.

“Noah is throwing his fastball, curveball and changeup well. He has not been erratic at all like he was last season. Now he’ll throw any pitch any time,” said Bochy.

Lowry’s counterpart, Maroth, is 1-1 with a 3.66 ERA in three career starts against San Francisco. Maroth had a no-decision when he last pitched against the Giants on June 19, 2005, for Detroit.

Zito to close first half: Barry Zito is scheduled to pitch against the Cardinals on Sunday, the Giants’ final game before the All-Star break. Because they have four days off and no All-Star pitchers, the Giants can set their rotation in any order following the break.

Coming up: Rookie pitcher Tim Lincecum will carry a 16-inning scoreless streak into his scheduled Saturday start. He struck out 12 batters in his previous outing, which was his second consecutive quality start after a streak of four poor outings (22 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings).

Lincecum will be opposed by Cardinals right-hander Braden Looper in the 4:15 p.m. PT contest at Busch Stadium.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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