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.”
Let’s start things off with Brandon Belt, because Brandon Belt had a funny game.
Belt struck out three times. And while we’ve already seen plenty of the patented Belt strikeouts this year — you know, the ones where he takes a backdoor breaking ball or high fastball that are an inch or two off the plate, and gets rung up anyway — these ones were the good old fashioned swing-and-miss variety. Three empty swings, three strikeouts.
He also hit a towering two-run home run that gave the Giants a 2-1 lead, albeit one they would squander.
That line — 1-4, 3 strikeouts, 1 home run — will always make me laugh, even though it’s the kind of line that will get him a hearty pat on the derrière from manager Gabe Kapler. That’s exactly what you want your sluggers doing in 2020: swinging for the fences, coming up empty often, trotting around the bases occasionally.
But it still makes me laugh. Baseball’s a funny game like that. One where you can look godawful for most of the game, only to have a really good showing when all is said and done.
It’s just the third time in Belt’s career that he’s had such a game, combining the benchmark of a successful hitting game (a home run) with the signal of a bad one (the strikeout hat trick). Though one of the two prior times was a 15-inning game, so I’m not sure how much that counts.
Sidenote: In 2018, Belt did not have a single game where he struck out exactly three times. He struck out four times on three different occasions, and he struck out twice 22 times. But he never just struck out three times. I find that very odd.
But back to the game at hand. Belt hit a booming home run in the fifth inning of of Adam Plutko, and with Kevin Gausman pitching through Cleveland’s lineup at ease, it felt like San Francisco might notch a nice, rare road victory.
Alas, a team’s strength must occasionally be its weakness, and the bullpen couldn’t hold down the fort. After allowing a pair of two-out singles, Gausman was pulled in the seventh inning, as Francisco Lindor came to the plate. In came Trevor Cahill, and the first pitch he threw was ripped into the corner for a go-ahead, two-run double.
I mentioned earlier that baseball is funny, but it sure is cruel as well. Gausman was on cruise control, but ended up having 3 earned runs tacked on his line, as well as a loss on his record. It didn’t seem right. But that’s baseball.
Cleveland added two more runs in eighth inning against Dany Jimenez, and suddenly the game didn’t look as close — or as fun — as it really was.
So it goes. The Giants are now 13-19, after falling 5-2 in a
stupid interleague game.