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Week 1: What to watch for, and how to watch it

We’re three days out.

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MLB: JUL 18 Giants Summer Camp Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello and welcome to the first week of baseball. That’s not something I’m supposed to say in July, but special horrible times call for special new measures.

This is the first of 10 weeks of San Francisco Giants baseball, barring the unforeseen (either the season getting canceled, or the Giants making the postseason ... OK, only one of those things is unforeseen, let’s be honest).

We kick things off with six games: four real ones, and two “exhibition” games which, to echo every single Giants beat reporter, is a funny phrase for a game being played in front of zero fans.

Here’s everything you need to know, including the news that this will be a recurring segment every Monday.

The schedule

Monday, 7/20: @ Oakland Athletics, 6:40 p.m. (exhibition)
Tuesday, 7/21: vs. Oakland Athletics, 6:45 p.m. (exhibition)
Thursday, 7/23: @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 7:08 p.m. (Opening Day)
Friday, 7/24: @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 6:40 p.m.
Saturday, 7/25: @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.
Sunday, 7/26: @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 7:08 p.m.

How to watch

Regional TV: NBC Sports Bay Area (available through fuboTV)
National TV: Thursday and Sunday on ESPN
Radio: KNBR 680

Must-see game

If you can only watch one game this week, pick Thursday’s game against the Dodgers. Why? Because it’s Opening Day you dingus! The air smells like LA smog opportunity, and the grass smells like Roundup hope, and it will stay that way until at least the third inning, when the scoreboard will send you scrambling to your fridge for a cold beer or five.

Giant to watch

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants don’t really have any high-impact players that will be on the roster, so it’s slim pickings. But Johnny Cueto will take the mound on Opening Day, and the Giants will have aspirations of competence for however long he can fend off the Dodgers bats. That may be a few minutes, or it may be a few innings. And there will be shimmies.

Opposing player to watch

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers-Workouts Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers could probably field a 30-man roster of players who are all better than anyone on the Giants team, but Cody Bellinger is the one to keep an eye on.

The reigning MVP hit .318/.417/.647 against right-handed pitchers a year ago, and the Giants will be starting three of the four games with one of those on the mound, not to mention a righty-centric bullpen.

Los Angeles has roughly five billion players who could single-handedly make the week ugly for San Francisco, but Bellinger is the most boss level of their many villains.

What to drink

Because this is a horrible year and figures to be an ugly season, I’m going to channel my inner Eno Sarris and end these weekly previews with a beer that I’ve been enjoying drinking, that I recommend you buy at the store for 5% of what you would be paying at the ballpark. Imbibe it and you’ll instantly feel better about the bad baseball you’re watching.

So here’s what’s in my Giants novelty pint glass that my parents bought me when they took me to Oracle Park for my 21st birthday, roughly four years after I turned 21 (we’re not very good at planning things):

Newport Daze, a hazy pale ale by Rogue. I chose this 5.5% ABV, 35 IBU brew because it has the word “Newport” in the name, and a picture of someone at the beach, with means Angelenos will think it’s referencing LA, even though it’s actually referencing Newport, Oregon. So it’s a great beer if you want to disappoint a SoCal resident by letting them know that no, actually, this isn’t about you. Great for a smug sense of superiority. I highly recommend.

I also chose it because my fridge is full of them (thanks Costco) and they’re wildly delicious.

In conclusion, enjoy the first week of baseball. Let’s hope the Giants aren’t eliminated from postseason contention when it’s over.