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Hypothetical recap: Giants successfully fail to avoid the sweep

Was that wording confusing? Let me try again: They lost.

Washington Nationals v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/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.”

Yesterday I gave you a whole spiel about how the San Francisco Giants were stuck playing against Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, who’s really, really good. But they got through that game — they lost, it’s worth noting, but technically they got through it — and you thought things would get a little easier for your favorite team.

But you forgot who the Nationals are (the reigning champs) and who they have (Stephen Strasburg).

Strasburg is more than just a player who signed a massive contract in the offseason. He’s also someone who struck out 251 batters in 209 innings a year ago, while finishing fifth in Cy Young voting.

Having one of Scherzer or Strasburg is how you secure a strong foundation in your rotation. Having both is simply a cheat code, and if I were the Giants I would file a request to the league office to have that type of power removed, and reallocated to teams that finished 10th in the NL a year ago. You know, in the name of competitive balance and whatnot.

Yesterday the Giants threw as many lefties as they could at Scherzer. They scored zero runs, and reversed course today. Tyler Heineman out, Buster Posey in. Billy Hamilton out, Austin Slater in.

It worked, at least in the sense that the offense did better than on Saturday. It would be hard to do worse, but they could have put up an egg for the second day in a row. You can be honest, it would not have surprised you. But the Giants put a pair of runs on the board against Strasburg, with a smattering of hits. They couldn’t get the big hit, and didn’t put any balls over the fence, or even particularly close. But they dinked and dunked some singles — some with nice bat control, and some with good luck — and even threw in a few doubles for good measure. They struck out 9 times against Strasburg in 7 innings, but 8 hits and 2 runs were better than Saturday’s showing.

They weren’t enough though. For most of the game, Logan Webb matched Strasburg’s output. It was by far his best performance this season, and even though he gave up some barrels, he kept the runs off the board, But he got into trouble in the sixth inning, when he allowed a leadoff walk, then got Strasburg to line out on very hard contact, before giving up a double down the line to Trea Turner.

That put runners on second and third, and Gabe Kapler was quick to get his young pitcher out of the game, which was the opposite of what happened in Webb’s last start.

But Jarlin Garcia came in and allowed a single to Adam Eaton, and suddenly Webb had two runs and a no decision on his stat line. Juan Soto moved Eaton to third with a single, and Howie Kendrick nearly knocked one out of the park on a very impressive sacrifice fly.

Suddenly the Nationals led 3-2, and despite there being a lot of baseball left, it felt like the Giants bed was made.

Turns out it was.

The Giants are now 11-17, and after two straight series wins, they’ve been swept at home. Happy weekend.