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.”
Look, I’m going to be perfectly blunt with you: I hated when the San Francisco Giants traded for Mike Leake in 2015. Not because I was high on Adam Duvall (who turned out to be briefly, kind of good?) or Keury Mella (who was the team’s #1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, though I somehow have no recollection of that). Though I suppose that was a good reason to hate the trade, even though Duvall is currently a fringe MLB player and Mella has a career FIP that begins with the number seven.
I hated it because I found Leake to be a thoroughly boring baseball player. Still do.
I have an admittedly stupid way of watching baseball, which is that half of my viewing excitement comes from hoping something highly memorable will happen. A big strikeout game. Better yet, a no-hitter. Better yet, a perfect game. Or any rare collectible in between.
Leake entered the 2020 MLB season with 296 career starts. He’s struck out 10 or more batters in . . . wait for it . . . four of those starts. He’s thrown a nine-inning complete game five times, with all of two shutouts in there.
He’s consistent — his ERA has hung within a 1-point margin for his entire 10-year career — but you have about as good of a chance of seeing Pablo Sandoval pitch as you do of seeing Mike Leake do something exciting on the baseball diamond.
I hold no ill will towards Leake, yet it’s hard to not get excited when the baseball team you root for has a field day against someone who has brought you no baseball joy.
And that’s what happened on Wednesday, as the Giants avoided the sweep for the second series in a row, and walloped the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-3.
It was San Francisco’s good fortune that DBacks starter Robbie Ray suffered a minor injury at the end of Spring Training, bumping Leake up and into the second spot in the rotation. Had Ray been pitching, San Francisco would’ve been no-hit, for all we know.
Instead, they went to town on Leake and the forgiving air at Chase Field.
San Francisco got the party started early, when Buster Posey roped an RBI double into the gap in the top of the first inning.
The first rule of baseball may be to never listen when someone says they’re in the best shape of their life, but it is worth noting that Posey’s swing looks far more comfortable and balanced than it did this time last year. Small sample and all, and no one’s expecting him to win the batting crown, but he at least looks a little bit like an offensive weapon.
Alex Dickerson followed up Posey’s double with a gargantuan home run, which was more than a little reminiscent of Mac Williamson’s Chase Field behemoth a few years ago.
The party was officially on. The Giants ended up with 14 hits, including home runs by Evan Longoria and Wilmer Flores. Leake only made it through 4.1 innings, whereas Jeff Samardzija rebounded from a tough opening week outing, and made it through 6 innings while allowing just 2 earned runs.
San Francisco is just 2-4, with many more losses on the horizon, but for the first time all year they were a ton of fun to watch.