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Hypothetical recap: Giants knock around Aaron Nola, win series

I’ll take “Things I didn’t expect to happen” for $400, Alex.

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/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.”

You’ve likely grown accustomed to the San Francisco Giants losing. They’d done so 18 times in their first 30 games, after all.

You’ve also likely grown accustomed to the Giants offense being futile. It’s been so in most — if not all — of those 18 losses, and in plenty of the 12 wins, as well.

But baseball has a funny way of reminding you to not get too comfortable, and not assume that too much is set in stone. This is a sport, after all, where when the best team and worst team face off, you expect the worst team to at least win one of the three games.

The worst team winning a game against the best team is essentially the best way to categorize the Giants having a good offensive game against Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies. And it’s exactly what happened on Wednesday.

The Giants seemed to take a “close your eyes and swing as hard as you can and hope for the best” approach, which worked in their favor. That is the flavor of the day, after all. Nola only pitched 5 innings, but he struck out 9 batters. He also gave up 8 hits, with loud contact all over the show, including a pair of home runs.

There was an Alex Dickerson two-run home run. There was a Brandon Crawford solo shot. There were singles and doubles and, when all was said and done, 5 runs tacked on the board. They’d add a sixth and a seventh in later innings, when Austin Slater roped a two-run pinch-hit double that made your heart skip a beat in the best of ways.

Drew Smyly had pretty much the exact opposite of Nola’s game. He struck out a mere 3 batters in 6 innings (the Kirk Rueter specialty), but generally limited hard contact. Crawford and Evan Longoria were busy scooping up grounders all day, and there were a more than a few pop-ups. A two-run home run by J.T. Realmuto that didn’t really feel like a home run swing but carried over the fence anyway, was all the damage he allowed.

Nursing the rare large lead, Gabe Kapler got to use the back of his bullpen a bit, and by that point the Phillies seemed like they were ready to just get the game over with and head to the airport. Multi-run deficits on getaway days will do that to you.

When all was said and done, the Giants improved to 13-18 on a 7-2 win. That was emphatically not what I was expecting to say about this game, but again: baseball has a way of reminding you not to get too comfortable.

The lesson, as always: You’re I’m not that smart.