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.”
One of the rarest beauties in the baseball world is a lead that a team holds through the entire game. This is fairly common in, say, basketball, where the better team will often score 10 seconds into the game and never relinquish the lead (okay it’s not that common, but it’s not too rare, either).
In baseball, even if you never trail, it’s likely that you don’t take the lead until the second, third, or maybe even fourth inning. Even if you strike in the first inning, it’s usually three or four batters in. And if you’re the home team, the game has already been going on for 20 minutes before you even get the chance to take a lead.
So it’s fun and special when you can hold a lead from start to finish.
On Wednesday, the first pitch of the ball game was a Jake Odorizzi fastball that missed high and away to Mike Yastrzemski. The second pitch was a get-it-in, feel-it-out, the-game-is-still-fresh-he-won’t-swing-will-he fastball grooved over the middle of the plate that Yastrzemski took to dead center. Up, up, and away.
Two pitches into a game that had 268 pitches, and the Giants led. About 20 seconds into a three-hour and two-minute game, and the Giants led.
And they would never not lead.
What a fun time for everyone. Or at least everyone associated with the San Francisco Giants. Probably not such a fun time for people associated with the Minnesota Twins.
Yastrzemski’s gorgeous dinger didn’t portend an offensive explosion though. Odorizzi is still Odorizzi, and the Giants offense is still the Giants offense, even with a DH and a hitter-friendly ballpark.
It wasn’t a bad offensive showing. In fact, it was a good showing! It just wasn’t the 12-run extravaganza that you get your hopes up about when the first batter of the game trots around the bases and seeks out a hand shake at third base.
But that’s OK. That’s more than OK, because the hitters did enough, and the pitchers did enough, and that, my friends, is how you collectively do enough to win a baseball game, which is what the Giants spent their Wednesday doing.
Kevin Gausman was solid, and relied on his very-good infielders behind him. He wasn’t missing a ton of bats, but he was getting groundballs left and right, usually with relatively soft contact. It was a good day to be a good defensive infielder, and the Giants have a few of those.
Gausman struck out just 3 batters in 6 innings, but also gave up only 5 hits and 2 walks, with just one of those hits being for extra bases. The Twins lineup is deceptively good, and Gausman keeping them from doing much damage was impressive. In all, he allowed just one run, with the Twins adding another off the bullpen on a Miguel Sano dinger. That wasn’t enough to catch the Giants, who scored on Yaz’s homer, RBI singles from Brandon Crawford, Tyler Heineman, and Evan Longoria, and a sac fly from Brandon Belt.
In all, it was a 5-2 win, and a great way to end the road trip. A few notes:
- The Giants held Josh Donaldson hitless for the entire series. Donaldson has long been one of my favorite players, so it was great to see him have a bounce back year in 2019. He’s been on absolute fire to start the season for Minnesota, so the Giants shutting him down felt mighty impressive or mighty lucky. Or both.
- Buster Posey has been playing most days, and looking healthy and spry while doing so, which is good to see. The Giants DH’d him today, and twice in the series, which sure beats just resting him, or, worse yet, playing him at first.
- Dany Jimenez continues to look like a spectacular find.
- The Giants are now 16-21. They’ll continue their adventures with the AL Central on Friday, when they host the Chicago White Sox.