A Shockingly Expected Outcome
Come on, admit it. You knew that Edgar Renteria would play a part in some manner of losing this weekend; this is the Giants we’re talking about. The stage was set perfectly: Brian Wilson was in, Renteria was at the plate with a runner in scoring position. Two World Series heroes squaring off, face to face. And of course the one in his late 30’s and well past his prime ended up winning. I’ve gotten to the point where not much surprises me. And on an unrelated note, it deserves mentioning that Aroldis Chapman is crazy good. Any time you can throw 100+ mph with any sort of command of the strike zone, you’re going to be hard to hit. I’ll be damned if the guy wasn’t nigh untouchable.
Getting back on topic though, there’s something that needs to be addressed, and that’s that this game wasn’t so much as won by Renteria as much as it was lost by Bruce Bochy. This refusal to allow Brandon Belt to play is getting out of hand. First off, Belt should be starting, so the fact that he wasn’t in the lineup to begin with was bad enough. But then, with the bases loaded and two outs, and Mike Fontenot came up. This is the same Mike Fontenot who hasn’t had a hit in twenty-some at-bats, and who had looked awful all night.
Brandon Belt, a decidedly better hitter (arguably the third best hitter right now behind Beltran and Sandoval), was readily available. It was simple logic really: pinch-hit Belt for Fontenot, then bring in Crawford to replace him at shortstop the next inning. And everything about that plan worked out great as long as you discount the fact that Fontenot proceeded to strike out on three pitches, effectively ending the scoring opportunity.
Plain and simple, the way that Belt has been handled is nothing short of atrocious. Here we have this great big problem: our first baseman isn’t hitting, and is showing no signs of bucking this trend. But fear not, because a remedy to this problem is available. His name is Brandon Belt, and apparently he’s not allowed to come out and play. When you have a prospect of this caliber and you call him up to the Majors to be a late-inning defensive replacement, odds are you’re doing some bad things to the poor kid’s psyche, not to mention the monumental waste of a hitter that this scenario creates. This is the sort of environment that leads to what the experts like to call a bust. If you don’t let the prospect get regular time against Major League pitching, odds are he won’t learn how to hit Major League pitching.
Eventually, things are going to come to a breaking point. There’s a good chance that Huff will continue to not hit. The longer he continues not to hit, the more pressure there’ll be to give Belt regular playing time. The more Bruce Bochy refuses to play Belt, the more you’re wasting valuable time in Belt’s development as a hitter. There’s a black hole of offense starting right around the 5-6 spot in the lineup right now, and Aubrey Huff stands guard at the gate. Letting Belt play every day helps him develop and helps our offense score runs, bringing us one step closer to closing aforementioned black hole.