The San Francisco Giants were trying to give Brandon Belt the night off after four straight games with a home run because of a sore knee, but he was called on to pinch hit late in tonight’s game against the Colorado Rockies.
In the seventh inning and the Rockies leading 4-1, starting pitcher Kyle Freeland was still on the mound.
With two on and two out, the Rockies brought in Bryan Shaw.
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Belt would replace Austin Jackson and had a chance to tie the game with one swing. Belt had homered in each of the previous four games, so the idea of him homering in this at bat wasn’t a huge leap.
Belt worked the count full and on the seventh pitch of the at bat, Shaw threw a 97 mile per hour cut fastball on the outside corner that absolutely froze the Giants hottest hitter.
Earlier this year, we looked at the called third strike and Brandon Belt and the frustration and intensity that seems to come with Belt in those moments.
It was clear looking at the three previous times it had happened this season, that Belt was caught looking at pitches out of the zone.
In fact, since 2015, Belt has more called three strikes on pitches out of the zone than anyone in Major League Baseball.
However, on this night, there was no argument. Shaw just threw a perfect pitch and Belt was left standing there.
Belt is in the middle of the best year of his career. He is on pace for 37 home runs, leads the team in most offensive categories and has been a gold glove first baseman.
In fact, Brooks Knudsen shared on Twitter just how great Brandon has been in his last 162 Major League games:
With all the home runs coming in bunches recently, Giants fans are starting to realize just how valuable Belt can be. Not only right now, but for their future.
If only the umpires would let him call his own strike zone. Although, tonight, he would have called himself out.