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Hypothetical recap: Johnny Cueto, elder statesman

Cueto got the better of his rookie counterpart.

Pittsburgh Pirates 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.”

The San Francisco Giants have a long and glorious history of getting absolutely obliterated by rookie pitchers.

So if you watched the Chicago White Sox trot out for the bottom of the first inning on Saturday, and saw a guy named “Dylan Cease” take the mound, and wondered what his deal was, then you were probably ready for the Giants to get shut down.

Yes, Cease — a 24-year old right-hander — is in his first year, and was making just his eighth MLB start. He’s been quite strong so far, but on Saturday your fears did not come true.

Instead, elder statesman Johnny Cueto seemed to take it as a personal challenge to teach a hot prospect how to be a strong MLB pitcher.

Cueto was utterly fantastic. He carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, although, to be fair, it was broken up by Yasmani Grandal plunking a ball into the water for a solo home run. But Cueto bit down on his mouthpiece after that, and didn’t allow another hit.

Gabe Kapler pulled Cueto for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning, because the Giants had a hefty lead and Cueto had thrown a fair number of pitches. No need to put him out there for any more, even though he could. That left his line rather sparkling: 7 innings, 1 hit, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, 1 run.

Yes. Yes, that will do, Johnny. Thanks for showing young Dylan how it’s done.

The Giants jumped on Cease early, and the runs didn’t . . . uhh . . . cease. He left after 3.1 innings, having already allowed 5 runs, including a 2-run homer to the artist formerly known as triples alley off the bat of Alex Dickerson. Cueto even knocked a single off of Cease, which, honestly, felt a little bit rude. There’s a fine line between a welcoming and a hazing, and I think Cueto kind of crossed the line a little bit on that one. It’s okay, Johnny. We all make mistakes.

Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford had two-hit days, and Evan Longoria added a late-inning home run against an exasperated White Sox bullpen that was really just trying to get to Sunday.

They got there. But not without a loss first.

The Giants won 8-2, and improved to 18-21. They’re only 13 straight wins away from being 10 games above .500!

You got this, Giants.