So, this Brandon Belt in left field thing is going to stick, huh?
Remember not too long ago when we thought the Giants had an abundance of potential options in left field? With Mac Williamson showing great promise, Hunter Pence preparing to rehab, and Austin Slater and Steven Duggar seemingly storming the gates in Triple-A?
Then Williamson got hurt, Pence’s rehab didn’t go well, Slater was sent back down and there hasn’t really been a discussion about Duggar ever since, as he would have to be added to the 40-man roster and there is nearly a daily roster juggle there as it is, with all of the injuries.
That wasn’t even two weeks ago. Now we’re looking at Brandon Belt as our starting left fielder. How did this happen?
Don’t get me wrong, you know I’m a big fan of Belt. And yes, I know I was the one complaining about him seemingly getting benched a lot. Now it seems like Bruce Bochy really, really doesn’t want his bat out of the line up. For good reason, Belt has been the offensive leader of the team so far this season.
Just yesterday, Bochy said to expect more Belt in left field in order to get Pablo Sandoval’s bat in the lineup.
That sure isn’t a sentence I was expecting to hear a week ago. But in a way, it makes sense. The Giants are in the midst of a string of right-handed pitchers, and will face even more in the upcoming series in Pittsburgh, after facing primarily lefties early in the season. Sandoval has done fairly well against right-handers so far this season, and Brandon Belt has, well, actually done pretty well against both but that’s beside the point.
Considering the team is facing the wrong end of a four-game sweep, I guess you’ve got to try a little of everything. Earlier in the season, they would have benched Evan Longoria and played Sandoval there (and they did!) but Longoria has become the team’s power hitter, so you don’t want to lose him. And with Grégor Blanco in a bit of an offensive slump, I guess this is probably the best option available at the moment.
That doesn’t mean I have to like it. It doesn’t mean it’s going to work. But, whoo, what a difference a week makes. Last week it was all champagne wishes and playoff dreams, and now...starting left fielder, Brandon Belt.