Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fight Test

I realize I've promised Part II of my season report card but those take a long time and the Mets have a game now. So it will have to wait, win or lose.

I've been to 11 Postseason games (of which I consider a separate entity from the 400 Regular Season games I attended), 6 of which came just last year--the benefits of being a ticket plan holder--and of those 11, 4 of those had the potential to be series-ending games, and 3 of them ended actually being series-ending games. Wednesday night will be #12, and of course the first time that I'll be attending a game where one team's season is guaranteed to be over.

I find it interesting to look back on these numbers and figures and potential results of things to see if there's some sort of pattern going forward. There really isn't any that I can look at here. Especially when you consider tonight's game is, for all intents and purposes, a 1-game Series, winner take all. 

The only way to look at this game, I suppose, is the same way teams have a tendency to play out most Playoff games, which is to do everything that's absolutely necessary to win that game and then worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. In this case, I suppose it's do whatever you can and then a little bit more, because unlike losing the first game of a Division Series or Championship Series if this one slips by, it's see you next April.

But that's the fragility of the Postseason and in particular the fragility of being in a Wildcard situation. It's not like 1999 and 2000 when the Mets won the Wildcard and got to hop right in to the NLDS. Now, they have to get through the Giants and Madison Bumgarner who you might have heard has a decent track record in the Postseason. This hasn't been shoved down our throats at all. Nor has the fact that the Giants have a whole Even Year thing going.

This is mostly antimatter for me; the Mets have plenty working for them, too. For one, the team as a whole was the hottest team in Baseball over the last 6 weeks of the season, a skein that started while the Mets were playing the Giants out in San Francisco. The Mets also have their answer to Bumgarner pitching in Noah Syndergaard. True, Syndergaard doesn't have the track record of his counterpart, but it's not as though he hasn't been in this arena before.

These are two pitchers you really don't want to fuck around with. Last time Bumgarner was seen in the Postseason he was pitching 5 innings of shutout relief in the 7th game of the World Series on 2-days' rest. Syndergaard's last dance saw him buzz Alcides Escobar with a 97-MPH fastball under his chin before leading the Mets to a win. And yet, both could be had on the wrong day. The Giants had a game earlier this year where they ran him to death. The Mets ambushed Bumgarner one night in San Francisco.

The focus lies on the starting pitchers here so much so that we're not paying attention to the other players in this game. The Giants would do well to try and make contact, get on base and distract Syndergaard. The Mets best shot is to try and make Bumgarner waste a lot of pitches early in the game and get into the Giants' awful bullpen. Neither may happen. Both could happen. That's Baseball.

The only sure thing is I won't sleep much tonight and I'll be at Citi Field around 8pm to watch this all unfold.

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