With the MLB season suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, there are no baseball games and limited baseball news. So I’m creating a hypothetical season — complete with news and recaps — until baseball resumes. All news and recaps will have the hypothetical tag, so you can at least know when you’re suspending reality. And you can click “hypothetical season” above the headline to see everything that has happened in this “season.”
There are few things in sports as exciting and delightful as a baseball walk-off. You can get similar excitement in other sports, but it’s not quite the same when a clock is involved. It’s not better, and it’s not worse, it’s just different. When a basketball player makes a buzzer-beating game-winner, or a quarterback throws a touchdown as the clock expires, you know that it’s all-or-nothing on that play.
But when there are no clocks, and baseball just hums along, each pitch affording an opportunity for the game to end, but you not knowing if it will? There’s something magical about that.
Where am I going with this, you ask? Perhaps not in the direction you thought. By now you probably figured out that the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the San Francisco Giants via walk-off - I didn’t exactly hide that news in the headline, did I - and you probably think I’m going to wax poetic about how beautiful baseball is, even in defeat. We’re still in the honeymoon phase of the new season, where even losses are joyous. It’s all baseball. We love you, baseball.
But no. That’s not where I was going.
The Diamondbacks couldn’t even do the exciting thing and give us a bittersweet walk-off treat. Instead, they did the most mixed of baseball bags: The boring walk-off.
With the game tied 1-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, Nick Ahmed hit a leadoff double against Trevor Gott. He took third on what was scored as a wild pitch, but Buster Posey would be quick to take blame for. And he scored one pitch later, when former Giant Stephen Vogt hit a lazy fly ball to right field, deep enough to not give Hunter Pence any real chance of throwing out Ahmed, but shallow enough to not be exciting at all.
And that was that. The Diamondbacks celebrated the walk-off - always celebrate the walk-off, you know, unless you’re hiding some weird electronic gadget underneath your jersey that you don’t want exposed - but even they would admit that it was as lackluster as walk-offs get.
Still, a win is a win. Or in the Giants case, a loss is a loss.
The Giants were mostly stymied by young DBacks pitcher Zac Gallen, who limited the team to four hits, two walks, and one run (on an RBI double, the only Giants extra-base hit of the game, by Brandon Crawford) in just his 16th career start. There was some solace in Kevin Gausman - making his Giants debut - matching Gallen. Gausman also held the opposition to one run across seven innings, giving up six hits but walking none, and striking out five.
A few more starts like this and you’ll be able to see Farhan Zaidi and Scott Harris salivate, as they envision a Mauricio Dubon-like return at the trade deadline. Losses aren’t fun, but the Giants will happily take losses in which their trade bait is cleaned and polished.
The loss drops the Giants to 1-3, and, with only 158 games to go, their dreams of making the postseason are fading fast.