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Hypothetical recap: Giants lose on a matinee walk-off

Rude. But predictable.

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/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.”

If we’re being honest, there’s not a lot to say about the San Francisco Giants 3-2 loss to Cleveland on Sunday afternoon. Is that a lazy sentence for me, a person paid to write about the Giants, to say? Yes. Emphatically.

But that doesn’t make it any less true.

So, as I’ve done a few times this year for Giants games that register on the boring scale — and there have been a few — I’m just going to leave you with some notes from the game. There will be more boring games down the line — this team isn’t exactly must-see TV — and I’ll repeat this habit as necessary.

So your recap, in bullet-point note form:

  • Johnny Cueto and Mike Clevinger had a nice battle, with the former giving up 2 earned runs in 6 innings, and the latter giving up 2 runs (1 earned) in 7 innings. I’m apparently getting old because these days I find pitcher duels a lot more intriguing and entertaining than big offensive games. Also my hairs are turning grey.
  • Even though the number of runs they gave up was the same, Clevinger was much better than Cueto. This shouldn’t be surprising, since Clevinger is one of the best pitchers on the planet, who last year posted an FIP of 2.49 with 12.1 strikeouts per 9 innings. For perspective, that FIP is nestled cleanly between Tim Lincecum’s Cy Young seasons, while the strikeout rate is substantially better than Lincecum’s best seasons. That’s not a fair comparison, since baseball has changed a lot in the last decade-plus, and batters are essentially trained to get rich hit dingers or die strike out trying. But if you’re wondering why Clevinger felt so dominant . . . well, there you go. Clevinger was spectacular, and the Giants never looked like they were aware of the sport they were playing against him. The only damage came from a 2-run double by Mike Yastrzemski, and even that felt (to my admittedly untrained eye) like he was very late on a fastball and got lucky that it landed on the third base line.
  • Cueto was not nearly as great, but he was good, and there’s value in that. He probably should have given up more runs, as plenty of hard contact found gloves and died at the warning track, but he also earned a ton of ground balls and kept Cleveland’s best hitters from finding a rhythm.
  • Alex Dickerson did not have a good day. This happens. Dickerson went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts, a double-play, and a pop-out. He’s been decent (and most importantly, healthy) to start the year, but bad games happen to everyone. This was his.
  • Trevor Cahill also did not have a good day, as he was tasked with pitching the bottom of the 9th in a tied game. The first batter he faced, Oscar Mercado, blasted a walk-off home run. Whoopsy. Cahill has not been great this year. I don’t have anything more observant to say than that.
  • Brandon Belt had the hardest-hit ball of the day for the Giants, but it found the glove of Carlos Santana. Belt exacted a little revenge by using every inch of his giraffe-length to snag a line drive off Santana’s bat two innings later.
  • Former Giants first-round pick Christian Arroyo got into the game, as a pinch-hitter. He grounded out. The Evan Longoria trade doesn’t look great for the Giants, but not because of Arroyo’s performance.
  • Tyler Rogers: Good at baseballing.
  • Johnny Cueto: Still fun, even in defeat.
  • Buster Posey: Still ain’t having it.
  • The Giants: 14-20.