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.”
I generally hate four-game series in baseball.
Baseball is a variance-filled sport to the point where every series win feels good. If the team you root for has the best record in baseball, and they’re playing the team with the worst record in baseball, taking two games in a three-game series feels good. It feels productive. It feels like a win.
It’s so clean that way.
In basketball or football, if the best team played the worst team three times in a row, they’d be disappointed to only win two games. Similarly, the bad team would find it a plus to win one of those three games.
Not in baseball. Play three games, and one team emerges successful while the other team emerges a failure, every single time.
But when you play four games? A split feels inevitable (even though it’s not), and more importantly, a split feels disappointing.
The San Francisco Giants are a sub .500 team. They were on the road, where all teams are at a disadvantage. In theory, splitting a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies (even though the Rockies are also a bad team), should feel like a win.
It doesn’t. It just feels blah. Like a waste. Like taking one of those flat ground escalators in the airport while people walk by you, using their legs, going faster.
The Giants leave Denver feeling mediocre. They leave the Rockies, kind hosts that they were, feeling mediocre.
That’s not supposed to happen in baseball. One team should feel good and one team should feel bad, damn it.
This is the point in the article where I tell on myself. I said splits feel inevitable in four-game series. Then I went back through 2019, and found out that the Giants played 13 four-game series, and only two of them ended in a split. Whoops. Narratives over facts, though.
Anyway, while a series split feels anticlimactic, it’s sure as hell better than a 3-1 series loss, so the Giants beating the Rockies on getaway day on Thursday is a win, both literally and figuratively.
Plus, Johnny Cueto pitching well, against all odds (and by “all odds” I mean “Coors Field”) is a lot of fun to watch. Cueto wasn’t actually that good, as he gave up 3 runs in 5.2 innings, but when you account for the ballpark he was quite good (though when you account for the Rockies, a very bad offensive team, he goes back to being not actually that good. Anyway.).
Cueto did strike out 8 batters, though it’s worth noting that he was aided by a group of Rockies hitters who looked like they were trying to bolster their K rates. I’m pretty sure I could have struck out at least one of them (note: I could not have struck out any of them).
The Giants did a bit better against Kyle Freeland, who walked 3 batters and generally allowed singles and doubles all over the show. Austin Slater had 3 doubles! Buster Posey had 3 singles!
And all is well in Giants land, as San Francisco beat Colorado 6-4, to earn the dreaded series split, and improve to 20-24.