First things first: Happy Birthday, Brandon Belt. Love, a Giraffe named Brandon Belt.
Or something like that -- Brandon Belt turned 24 on Friday and his wife, Haylee Belt, tweeted out a picture of the giraffe Brandon Belt with the note "look who wanted to wish Brandon a happy birthday ..." and the picture you see above.
With that out of the way, is it possible that Belt's starting to come around a bit?
It is possible, and Belt's last at-bat has to be a good sign at the very least. He stepped in as a pinch-hitter -- against the left-handed Antonio Bastardo, no less -- and smacked a single that eventually led to him scoring the game-winning, walk-off run on a Melky Cabrera hit.
Following the game Bruce Bochy cited, per Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, his work in the Dominican Winter League as helping Belt step up and hit in a critical situation. And Belt agreed.
"It definitely helped calm me down," Belt said, "knowing I've been in that situation before."
Additionally, over his past four games, Belt is hitting .375/.500/.500. Granted, it's just 10 at-bats, so the sample size is absolutely tiny, but it's not different than the sample size that caused Bruce Bochy to start sitting Belt in the first place.
He still hasn't homered on the season and it's not like CitiField is really a place to get a hitting streak ramped up. But if Belt can post a strong series against the Mets -- even if he's sitting against left-handed pitchers and only pinch-hitting -- there seems to be a real chance for momentum here.
And, of course, today's a decent day to remember that Belt is only 24. A lot of prospects have produced big seasons before that age (ahem, Buster Posey), but 24 is still young, even in the world of sports, where 30's often over the hill.
It's easy to freak out over the production and play of Belt, but he's got a good shot at the moment to give Bochy more and more reason to put him in the lineup. The least he could do is start him on his birthday anyway.