Brandon Belt homered for the third straight game Wednesday and has now hit a home run in his last five games against the Reds. That's not what he will remember from the afternoon, though.
The Giants lost 6-3 to the Reds with a controversial called strike three on Belt. With a runner on first and Evan Longoria on deck, Belt let a fastball go by that appeared much out of the strike zone. But, not according to home plate umpire Doug Eddings.
After the loss, Belt was irate with Eddings in the clubhouse, even questioning his motives on the called strikes that Belt certainly did not agree with.
"It's tough because you hope an umpire doesn't affect a game like that, but he did and you're not sure if it's on purpose, either," Belt said to reporters. "We've heard that guy multiple times say that -- or insinuate -- that he's trying to get through the game fast. And then he makes calls like that where I can't imagine that he really thought was a strike, you gotta wonder."
Belt was then asked about if he believes Eddings is really just trying to speed games up with his calls.
"I don't know, but when you say it enough you start to believe it," Belt said. "I’m not sure if that’s connected or not, but if you don’t want it to be, then don’t say it.
“I’m not here to talk bad about the umpires. I think 99.9 percent of the umpires are great and I actually enjoy talking to them. But there’s just some times you have a feeling that one or two of them are trying to get the game over with, whether it’s through what they say or what they do, and that just can’t happen. You can’t have those guys affecting careers and affecting games like that.
“We had a really good hitter coming up after that who could have tied the game for us. And we never got that chance because he calls a ball that was so far off the plate I don’t even think I could have touched it if I swung at it."
Below you can see two pitches in Belt's last at-bat of the game that look outside of the zone, but were called strikes.
If @MLB fines Brandon Belt for being upset that these two pitches were called strikes in the final AB of a game it would be an injustice. If anything the umpire should be reprimanded. pic.twitter.com/YaQG3Lv2wX— Jason Radke (@jayrad523) May 17, 2018
Since 2015, data from Baseball Savant shows that Belt has taken the most called strike threes outside of the zone, with 50 in total.
Belt has hit nine home runs, walked 24 times and struck out 41 times so far this season in 40 games.