The stage is set. Noah Syndergaard will face Madison Bumgarner in the National League Wild Card game; a battle between 2 of the best pitchers in baseball. For the Giants, they expect to win because it’s an even year. In 2010, 2012, and 2014 the Giants have won the World Series. So it only makes sense that they win it in 2016 right? The Mets will have a chance to end that streak, and get a chance to rematch the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs.
The Mets have a few edges in this matchup, and one of the most important ones is the home field advantage. This game will be played at Citi Field, so it is the fans’ job to be loud and into the game, supporting their team. Met fans are very excited. Keep in mind this is only the 2nd time in franchise history they have made it to the playoffs in back to back seasons. I think the Mets could feed off of an excited crowd, and use it to their advantage. If the Giants jump and score on Syndergaard early, they will take the fans right out of the game.
Noah Syndergaard had a great season, but the Giants have the starting pitcher advantage. Madison Bumgarner went on an insane run in 2014, leading the Giants to a World Series victory and receiving the World Series MVP that year. He is a 3 time World Series champion. The reality is he does not know how to lose in the playoffs, which will make a Met victory very tough. The Mets need to find a way to jump on Bumgarner early. If they can get him off of his game early, this could be their day.
Another issue with Bumgarner is he’s a lefty, and some of the Mets’ core hitters are lefties including Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, and Lucas Duda. These guys might have a tough time against Bumgarner, but they need to stay patient. It is very important to get Bumgarner’s pitch count up, regardless of how many runs they score. The Mets should want to face a very weak Giants bullpen, which means getting Bumgarner out of the game. It seems the Giants blow a save every night, and that is why it is important for the Mets to keep it close. I do not see them running away with the game as long as Bumgarner is on the mound.
Then there’s the x-factor: Noah Syndergaard. If he matches Madison Bumgarner, the Mets should win this game. The Mets have the edge in bullpen, so if this game is close late with Bumgarner out of the game, this game could fall in the Mets’ favor. It is utmost pivotal that Syndergaard pitches a gem. We know he can, we have seen it before. In 2015, he pitched and won the Mets’ only win in the World Series. He has to know the Mets will not score many runs going into this game, and if he wants to win, the same must happen to the Giants.
Madison Bumgarner worries me. It’s a 1 game Wild Card, it’s a wash. Either team could win this game. The Giants have the starting pitching edge, but Noah Syndergaard can be just as good. The Mets have to take advantage of this game being played in queens. A win in this game would be huge for the franchise. If they win this game, anything can happen from there. The Mets are one of the hottest teams in baseball, and the Giants have been one of the coldest teams since the All Star break. So Mets fans, enjoy this game. This pitching matchup is very good for baseball. If Noah Syndergaard out duels Madison Bumgarner, he will make a name for himself if he hasn’t already. The whole season comes down to 1 game, and Mets fans are pumped up about it.