NL Wild Card Pitching Match-Up

New York Mets (87-75) vs. San Francisco Giants (87-75)

 

When: Wednesday, October 4. 8:00 p.m.

Where: Citi Field, Flushing, New York

 

This is the first time in 3 years that I won’t be panicking all day waiting for the Pirates to play their best-of-one against a dominant pitcher. It’s bittersweet. They missed the Postseason, but then again, at least I won’t be disappointed this year with another Wild Card game loss.

This game though is going to be awesome. The AL game was a battle of strong offenses. This one should be the battle of the arms. The Mets won the 7 game season series 4-3.

Pitching Match-up

Noah Syndergaard (14-9 2.60 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (15-9 2.74 ERA)

This is the match-up you want to see in Postseason baseball. Ace vs. Ace. The Mets are starting the flame throwing, 23 year-old Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard has the toughest fastball to hit in baseball from a starting pitcher with a average velocity of 98.3 MPH. Syndergaard stands at a height of 6 foot 6. His massive frame adds an extension to his release point making the ball tougher to pick up and seem harder. He will sink his fastball as well and mixes it with his 4-seam. Just to add to the filth, his slider velocity averages over 90 MPH as well. It’s hard enough to hit a 90 MPH fastball, but add some movement to a pitch that speed and a guy is deadly. There’s a reason they call him Thor.

Syndergaard went 1-1 against the Giants this year in 2 starts giving up 4 earned runs in 13.2 innings. He threw a gem against them in August allowing just 2 hits in 8 innings with 0 runs.

This is Syndergaard’s 2nd season, first full season in the bigs. In that short time, Buster Posey has gone 3 for 6 against Thor. Hunter Pence is the only Giant to hit a home run against Syndergaard, which happens to be his only hit off him in 5 ABs. I don’t see long balls happening tonight for either team.

Madison Bumgarner. I would not want to be on the other team facing this guy in the Postseason. We all remember this guy’s historic Postseason run in 2014 leading the Giants to a World Series championship. The big lefty has more than enough experience in Postseason atmospheres on the road. He appeared against the Pirates in the 2014 Wild Card game in Pittsburgh and threw a 4 hit shutout. The ball is tough to pick up out of his hand and can cause fits for the best hitters in the game.

Bumgarner went 2-0 in 2 starts this year against the Mets allowing 4 earned runs in 11 innings combined. One of his starts he matched up against Syndergaard in May, edging the Mets 6-1. He threw 226.1 innings this season and would throw another 200 before the end of 2016 if it were possible. The guy is a workhorse.

MadBum has done a pretty nice job against New York hitters. Jay Bruce is a career .143 hitter against him. Yoenis Cespedes is 3 for 10 lifetime and Curtis Granderson 0 for 3. The big hitters tend to over swing the in the wild card game. Hopefully the heart of the Mets’ order can stick to their approach and string together a few runs.

One of my favorite thing about these pitchers is they both can hit. Bumgarner was begging to be in the home run derby, and Syndergaard could’ve done it as well. Both guys hit 3 home runs this year. It would be crazy if one of them were to homer and have it decide the game.

Location

Citi Field plays to favor pitchers. Perfect for this match-up. Toronto showed that home field could be huge and the Mets fans see this as unfinished business with last years World Series loss. Every Postseason game brings an incredible atmosphere, but I think every ballpark should be going nuts no matter the stakes during October. There’s a big outfield and strong pitchers on the hill. Don’t expect to have to use your glove you brought to the game if you’re sitting in the outfield.

Prediction

Both aces have Postseason experience, but for me, I’m taking the Giants on the road. I can’t pick against Bumgarner on hill in October. The Giants played good baseball at the right time to hold on to a wild card spot. Their play decreased dramatically after the All-Star break and they watched their NL West lead shrink. But, it’s an even year for the Giants and history likes to repeat itself.

I could see this game coming down to a defensive miscue. I don’t expect either starter to be missing spots or throwing pitches he shouldn’t at the wrong times. They’re both ready to go and focused on what to do. Each starter will go at least 6 innings, and Bumgarner will go over 7.

Giants win, 3-1.

 

 

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