Barry — No. 746

Nice to see Barry Bonds get his chase for Henry Aaron’s home-run record jump-started Sunday. Let’s face it, most of us want this thing to get over with sooner rather than later, so that a tawdry chapter in baseball history can end.

I mean, baseball players may use performance-enhancing drugs from now until the end of time, but the Bonds home-run chase is nothing if not a constant reminder of that era. Only the blindest of the blind think Bonds has reached this point naturally, and they probably exchange Christmas cards with the folks in Cincinnati who still insist Pete Rose didn’t bet on baseball. But whatever view you take, you also can’t deny that Bonds is the best hitter (and player) of his generation, and he probably didn’t gain too great an advantage, because most of his peers were likely doing the same thing.

Anyway, if Sunday were any indication, the interim between career homers 746 and 747 won’t be nearly the gap it was between 745 and 746. I’m no expert on the intricacies of a guy’s swing, especially with one so fine-tuned as Bonds’, but to me, he looked balanced at the plate, and he seemed to be seeing the ball real well. He had a couple of very good takes on Sunday, and that’s always an indication a guy is finding his groove.

Now, whether that means will keep his appointed “pace” and hit No. 755 in St. Louis in early July and No. 756 a week later at home against the Dodgers is another discussion altogether. But look for him to add at least two to his total during the Giants’ 10-game trip to New York, Philadelphia and Arizona.

Of course, none of the home runs Bonds has hit this season has helped the Giants be more than about a .500 team. One-third of the way through the year, they are pretty much the same as their rivals across the bay. They have dominant starting pitching, a mostly stagnant offense and a bullpen that lacks reliability. That’ll get you anywhere from 75-85 wins, and in a strong NL West, that won’t get it done.