Giants

Brandon Belt blasts home plate umpire: 'You’re not sure if it’s on purpose'

Brandon Belt blasts home plate umpire: 'You’re not sure if it’s on purpose'

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. 

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. 

Rays trade former Giants outfielder to Mariners

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AP

Rays trade former Giants outfielder to Mariners

SEATTLE -- Rather than waiting to see where the Seattle Mariners are sitting by the time the trade market heats up, general manager Jerry Dipoto decided to be proactive.

Rewarding a strong start in spite of numerous injuries and the suspension of Robinson Cano, the Mariners pulled off the first big trade of the season Friday, landing outfielder Denard Span and right-handed reliever Alex Colome from the Tampa Bay Rays for two minor leaguers.

It's not a blockbuster deal, but it does immediately improve the Mariners after spending the first two months dealing with a number of significant injuries and still finding themselves near the top of the AL West.

"They're going to fit in our clubhouse and really fit too to what we think are critical needs," Dipoto said. "The fact we were able to do it and maintain another four, five months of their contribution for this year, it's so much different than an ordinary in-season or July-type of pick up."

Seattle was seeking outfield depth and a boost for a heavily used bullpen to keep up momentum from a strong start to the season, despite injures to five starting position players, including Cano prior to his suspension. The Mariners entered Friday nine games over .500 and off to their best start since 2003.

"I think it's an awesome message that everything we've dealt with in the last eight-to-10 days here - it starts at the ownership level and front office - that we're all in on this season," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "That even though we had a setback with Robbie and the injury and suspension it's not going to derail us. Our eyes are set on the goal and that's getting to the playoffs and I think this helps us."

Tampa Bay will send Seattle $4.75 million to cover a portion of the $13,840,860 the Mariners took on with the acquisition of Span and Colome, although the Mariners had an unexpected $11 million freed up due to Cano's suspension.

Span is assured $10,193,548 - $6,193,548 remaining of this year's $9 million salary and a $4 million buyout of a $12 million mutual option. Colome has $3,647,312 left in his $5.3 million salary this year and can become a free agent after the 2020 season.

Seattle sent minor league right-handers Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero to Tampa Bay, but the Rays continued to shed salary from a roster that was already 28th out of 30 clubs on opening day according to MLB figures.

"This usually is the time where you're still learning about your club and where you're at competitively," Rays GM Erik Neander said. "I think some circumstances changed in Seattle with respect to where their team is at, where their finances were at and that led to some motivation from them to seek and try to find ways to improve their team."

Colome may be the most important piece of the acquisition for Seattle because of what he'll add to the bullpen, and he will be under club control for a few more years. He was an All-Star in 2016 with the Rays and led the major leagues with 47 saves last year, but will likely need to accept a setup role in Seattle with closer Edwin Diaz leading the AL with 17 saves this season.

Colome has 11 saves this year, but has allowed 10 earned runs in 21 2/3 innings.

"I just think it adds an unbelievable depth to a really good group already," Servais said. "When you're running guys in there three, four days in a row, you don't have to over-extend anybody."

Span has played both center field and left field in his career. He was hitting .238 in 48 games with the Rays, but his ability to play multiple spots in the outfield is the big benefit to Seattle after Dee Gordon's move to second base following to Robinson Cano's suspension. Dipoto said Span will likely be the regular left fielder with Ben Gamel transitioning to a reserve role and Guillermo Heredia holding down center.

Tampa Bay acquired Span from San Francisco in December after he signed a three-year free agent contract with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. Span was still processing the deal before leaving Tampa Bay. He said when he got through spring training without being traded, he believed it would be closer to the trade deadline before possibly getting moved.

"I'm really looking forward to this new challenge, but this is home for me," Span said. "It is disappointing. I can say that for sure. I was just trying to get settled in here and we were winning, we were having a good time. Maybe if this had happened after the first week of spring training or whatever, I would have been more prepared."

The Rays also sent minor league right-hander Peter Bayer to Oakland for right-hander Wilmer Font. Oakland acquired Font from the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 25 and designated him for assignment Wednesday.

Giants unravel in seventh inning, drop series opener to Cubs

Giants unravel in seventh inning, drop series opener to Cubs

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- Kyle Hendricks limited San Francisco to one run and two hits over seven innings, Ben Zobrist lined a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh and the Chicago Cubs beat the Giants 6-2 on Friday.

Hendricks (4-3) struck out seven and walked two to help the Cubs open the series on a winning note after a two-game sweep by Cleveland at Wrigley Field.

Gorkys Hernandez had two of San Francisco's four hits - a leadoff homer in the fourth and single in the sixth. Evan Longoria added an RBI single against Pedro Strop in the ninth, but the Giants fell to 0-3 on an eight-game trip. They have been outscored 21-5.

The Cubs scored four in the seventh while chasing Derek Holland to grab a 5-1 lead. Zobrist's double to left against Will Smith made it 3-1, and Kris Bryant added a two-run single off Cory Gearrin. Addison Russell made it 6-1 with an RBI single in the eighth, and the Cubs hung on for the victory.

Pedro Strop retired the first two batters in the ninth before Brandon Belt singled, went to second on indifference and scored on Longoria's single.

Brian Duensing walked Brandon Crawford to put runners on first and second, but Brandon Morrow struck out Mac Williamson for his 11th save in 12 chances.

Holland (2-6) gave up three runs (two earned) and five hits. He left with none out in the seventh after hitting Javier Baez and walking Ian Happ.

Addison Russell moved the runners up with a sacrifice against Smith before Tommy La Stella - batting for Hendricks - walked. That loaded the bases for Zobrist, who lined a double to left.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (fractured pinky on his throwing hand) is scheduled to throw approximately 45 pitches in a rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento Saturday. ... 2B Joe Panik (sprained left thumb) continues to make progress and could begin a rehab assignment before the team concludes its current road trip that runs through Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (5-3, 4.92 ERA) tries to win his third straight start, though he's only gone five innings in each of his past two.

Cubs: LHP Jose Quintana (5-3, 4.47) looks to build on a dominant start after throwing one-hit ball over seven innings in a 10-0 win at Cincinnati on Saturday.