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Hypothetical recap: Giants predictably avoid the sweep

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We can have some nice things, but not all the nice things.

San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

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 Atlanta Braves beat the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, 6-3, which shouldn’t be particularly surprising.

For one, the Braves are a lot better than the Giants. They’re a few games ahead of San Francisco in the standings, and they were projected by Fangraphs to win 20 more games than the Giants this season.

For two, the Braves were playing at home.

For three, the Giants had already won the first two games of the series, giving them their first series victory of the season in seven attempts. Asking for a sweep was political levels of greed.

Giants fans know better than to get greedy.

Still, I have my complaints. If the Giants had to lose, couldn’t it have been against Felix Hernandez? After 15 seasons (including six All-Star appearances, one Cy Young Award, and one perfect game) with the Seattle Mariners, Hernandez is wearing a National League jersey for the first time. And though he’s struggled to regain form in the past few years, he’s been excellent so far as the Braves fifth starter.

Will that keep up? Who knows. But as Hernandez is an extremely enjoyable and lovable baseball figure, I would have much preferred the Giants losing to him than to Max Fried. But losers can’t be choosers, as the common expression goes.

So Max Fried we got, and Max Fried was good, or at least better than Kevin Gausman. Most pitchers have been better than Gausman this year, which is a bit disappointing. There were certainly many (myself included) who held out hope that Gausman would have a return to form with the Giants and return a nice prospect at the deadline.

Instead, he’s been on the bottom side of so-so. It’s a long season, and we’re still not very far into it, so there’s plenty of time for Gausman to figure things out before July 31. It’s weird to root for a player more for their trade value than for their impact on the Giants winning games, but it’s where we are with Gausman. He seems like a perfectly nice dude, who could be a #GoodGiant in a year where San Francisco has their sights set higher than 75 wins. But for now his value is wrapped up solely in how tradable he is, and it’s silly to pretend otherwise.

Which brings us back to his performance. 5 innings, 7 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, and 4 earned runs isn’t going to get the New York Yankees on the line. That was enough for the Braves to get an insurmountable lead, and ruin San Francisco’s chances at a bizarre, feel-good sweep. So it goes.

Some notes:

  • Mike Yastrzemski hit his second home run of the year. It’s been a slow start to the year for Yaz, but the Giants are giving him the leash that suggests that they think his 2019 performance is not an outlier. Hopefully this is the beginning of things coming around.
  • Dany Jimenez continues to be sensational. Gabe Kapler has mostly used Jimenez in low-pressure situations, but you have to think that will be changing soon with his performance. Jimenez was a Rule 5 draftee, so he has to stay on the 26-man roster all year if the Giants want to keep him. So it would probably behoove them to start bumping up the pressure situations.
  • Both Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford look healthier than in 2019. Neither is having an All-Star season (yet), and there remain serious concerns about the latter’s bat. But both at least look healthy and athletic, and that’s good to see.
  • The Giants are now 9-13.