San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt did not play in Sunday’s finale against the San Diego Padres. The fact that Belt has struggled mightily at the plate so far this season means he should expect to miss a few games here and there.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy wanted to be clear that Belt was not being benched so much as he was getting a day off to rest. Also, Bochy wanted to play first/third baseman Joaquin Arias because he liked the matchup against Padres starting pitcher Eric Stults. Arias was batting .400 with one home run against Stults in his career prior to Sunday’s contest. Obviously, the move did not pay off as Arias went 0-for-4 at the plate.
“This isn’t a case where he’s getting benched,” Bochy told SFGiants.com. “But we need to get Arias out there. [Belt] might miss a couple of games.”
There is no denying that Bochy simply wanted to see Arias get some more plate appearances considering he had only 12 at-bats prior to Sunday. It is common for managers to give some players a day off on Sunday because it is typically a day game after a night game. However, I believe it is clear that there is a little more to Bochy’s decision than just that.
Belt is batting .183 (11-for-60) with five RBI, three doubles, four walks, two stolen bases, five runs and a whopping 16 strikeouts in 17 games this season. Not to mention, the 25-year-old has only recorded two hits in his last 13 at-bats.
The move to sit Belt is a way for Bochy to motivate the third-year player while trying to get him to concentrate harder on his game.