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Hypothetical recap: Johnny Cueto does his thing, Giants beat Padres

Now that was a good time.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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.”

The San Francisco Giants were given a gift on Friday night against the San Diego Padres. Well, two gifts, technically.

First was the weather, which cleared up just in time for a gorgeous day of baseball, after solid rain through the week in Southern California.

Second was the pitching matchup. The Giants, who had used two early season offdays to reset their rotation twice, got to send out their number one pitcher, Johnny Cueto. The Padres, who have not reset their rotation, sent out Zach Davies, fourth in their rotation.

Perhaps this won’t be a huge advantage in the long run, as the Padres rotation figures to be a fair bit better than the Giants. Davies could have a far better season than Cueto, and no one would be too surprised.

But he did not today. The number one pitched much better than the number four, and all was right in the baseball world for a few hours.

Maybe don’t check back tomorrow when the Giants number two takes on the Padres number five. These things have a way of overcorrecting themselves.

Cueto was spectacular, for the first time this year. He’d been up and down in his first three starts, and on Friday night he shimmied and shook his way through the Padres lineup. For seven innings he mixed up his pitch speeds and timing, and batters never looked comfortable against him. Manny Machado struck out swinging twice. Fernando Tatis Jr. did the same. No one looked at ease.

And it was a damn beauty to watch.

Cueto earned 11 strikeouts in 7 innings, his most since April 17, 2018. He gave up just 4 hits and 1 walk, and back to back doubles by Hosmer and Machado resulted in the only run of the game he gave up.

Davies, on the other side of things, was not so great. The Giants used all of the field in working 9 hits against him in just 5.1 innings, though 7 of those hits were singles. But the team was timely with their hitting, which they haven’t been much this year, and finished the day 5-9 with runners in scoring position. That was enough to make them happy dance, and by “happy dance” I mean “stand in a funny line at the end of the game and give each other high fives.”

The biggest hit came from Evan Longoria, who lined an opposite field single that scored a pair of runners in the sixth inning (and knocked Davies out of the game). That opened things up, and the Giants coasted the rest of the way.

When all was said and done, the Giants won 6-1, and improved to 6-8. A win at any point during the weekend, and they’ll have their first series win of the year!

A few notes:

  • The bullpen didn’t allow a run, once again. Jarlin Garcia pitched the eighth inning, and Trevor Gott handled the ninth. It looks like Gott might the closer.
  • Billy Hamilton came into the game in the seventh inning. Hamilton has now appeared in 11 of the Giants 14 games, despite not making a single start. That’s pretty impressive.
  • Longoria’s big hit may have been just a single, but due to being at Petco Park, it reminded me of this:

My goodness.