The Giants were down a few runs in the fifth inning of a game they would eventually lose to the Rockies 6-3.
So you'd think the last thing Bruce Bochy would want to do is pull Carlos Beltran out of the lineup. After all, Beltran's the best hitter on the Giants. But he did it anyway.
That's because on the previous two at-bats, Beltran had failed to record a hit, and his average dropped down to an even .300, and Bochy wasn't going to put him in a situation where he'd lose a shot at the batting-average benchmark.
This is the fourth time in his career that Beltran's hit .300 or higher -- he did so in 2001 and 2003 with the Royals, 2009 with the Mets and now 2011, with time split between New York and San Francisco.
What makes this interesting, to me, is the offseason dynamic it presents. (There's also an argument that it's unethical to bail on the game in order to maintain a certain statistical production -- no one cares if it's not for the batting title or a game that matters for the postseason.)
While statistical evolution has moved most baseball folks away from just simply pointing at batting average to represent a hitter's success, it's still the sort of thing that someone like Scott Boras, Beltran's agent, might use in negotiations when Beltran's a free agent this offseason.
Ergo, pulling Beltran out could hurt the Giants in their attempts to re-sign the outfielder this offseason, as his price might be higher than it would have if he'd hit .299. (Don't think it doesn't make a difference; it does.)
At the same time, maybe this represents a nice little bond between Bochy and Beltran, and maybe the outfielder really did enjoy his time in San Francisco, making him more likely to come back to the Giants in the offseason, provided they want and/or can afford him.
Either way, it didn't "work" to trade for Beltran in the sense that the Giants missed the playoffs, but when you look at the way Beltran surged late -- .378/.434/.700, six homers, 14 RBI in September and October -- it's hard to that it was the outfielder's fault.