Brandon Belt is the most controversial player in San Francisco baseball history, World Series era. This sound ridiculous, of course, that a 25-year-old first baseman who is progressing nicely in his career is causing so much heat on the airwaves and on Twitter. Like a heartbroken person talking about their ex, every conversation about the Giants eventually devolves into a conversation about Belt.
Belt’s insertion into the 3-hole is a coup for all of his supporters. It’s also the greatest opportunity for #BeltBash. Today’s results for Belt won’t make or break his career, but it be a moral victory if he sent one into the water in the first inning. An 0-4, four-strikeout performance (like Yasiel Puig two nights ago) would make KNBR more unlistenable than usual.
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford returns to the lineup Saturday after missing three games with a pair of sprained fingers. He sustained the injury sliding into second base during a stolen attempt on Tuesday, a 5-4 win against San Diego. The spot in the lineup is not guaranteed, as Hank Schulman reports that he could be scratched if batting practice doesn’t go well. Joaquin Arias would most likely fill in, having started the last three games at short.
Crawford will try to help the Giants stop a nasty streak. After taking the first two of the the four-game series, the Marlins have now won 9 straight games in AT&T Park. This is the longest current streak of any team against the Giants, and especially painful against a team that has lost 25 more games than it has won this season.
Before the 2012 season I invented a segment for our blog/podcast called “Brandon Watch”, based on the premise that the Giants could be successful if their young (and cheap) position players performed at the level of major-league caliber starters. What followed was a great defensive season from Brandon Crawford and a really nice all-around performance by Brandon Belt.
There will be no Brandons for Giants fans to watch Friday night against Miami. Crawford sits for the third straight day after spraining two of his fingers on a stolen base attempt Tuesday. Crawford will be available to pinch-run and/or pinch-hit, according to Andrew Baggarly. The only hurdle to starting now is the discomfort he feels when releasing the ball on defense.