NL Wild Card Game: Previews, Predictions, and Live Updates

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Update: Giants advance to NLDS thanks to Go-Ahead 3-Run HR by Conor Gillaspie and CG-Shutout by Madison Bumgarner

Final: 3-0 Giants

San Francisco Giants @ New York Mets

Starting Pitchers

Giants

Madison Bumgarner (226.2 IP, 2.74 ERA, 251 K)

Mets

Noah Syndergaard (183.2 IP, 2.60 ERA, 218 K)

This game is certainly going to be a pitching duel. Two of the best pitchers in the league are facing off in a one-game playoff, and both offenses have clear weaknesses in their style of play. Strikeouts should be a-plenty, and runs will be scarce. Bumgarner has the edge of playoff experience over Syndergaard, though the young Mets ace has given up runs at a slightly lower rate this season. Mets hitters have fared better against Bumgarner than the Giants have when facing Syndergaard, but I firmly believe this game will be decided by two runs, at most. Meaning whoever scores first might determine who advances to the NLDS. My gut tells me the Giants are going to advance, and I won’t be surprised if Bumgarner goes the distance.

Advantage (on paper): Mets

Advantage (in my gut): Giants 

Projected Lineups

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Giants

  1. Denard Span (CF) – .266/.331/.381, 11 HR, 12-for-19 SB
  2. Brandon Belt (1B) – .275/.394/.474, 66 XBH (17 HR), 82 RBI
  3. Buster Posey (C) – .288/.362/.434. 14 HR, 80 RBI
  4. Hunter Pence (RF) – .298/.357/.451, 13 HR, 57 RBI
  5. Brandon Crawford (SS) – .275/.342/.430, 51 XBH (12 HR), 2.7 DWAR
  6. Angel Pagan (LF) – .277/.331/.418, 12 HR, 15-for-19 SB
  7. Joe Panik (2B) – .239/.315/.379, 10 HR, 62 RBI
  8. Conor Gillaspie (3B) – .262/.307/.440, 18 XBH (6 HR), 25 RBI
  9. Madison Bumgarner (P) – .186/.268/.360, 3 HR, 9 RBI

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Mets

  1. Jose Reyes (3B) – .267/.326/.443, 8 HR, 9-for-11 SB
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera (SS) – .280/.336/.474, 23 HR, 62 RBI
  3. Yoenis Cespedes (LF) – .280/.354/.530, 31 HR, 86 RBI
  4. Curtis Granderson (CF) – .237/.335/.464, 30 HR, 59 RBI
  5. T.J. Rivera (2B) – .333/.345/.476, 8 XBH, 16 RBI (33 G)
  6. Jay Bruce (RF) – .250/.309/.506, 33 HR, 99 RBI
  7. Rene Rivera (C)  – .222/.291/.341, 6 HR, 0.8 DWAR
  8. James Loney (1B) – .265/.307/.397, 26 XBH (9 HR)
  9. Noah Syndergaard (P) – .190/.277/.397, 6 XBH (3 HR)

Benches

Giants

Ehire Adrianza (SS) – .254/.299/.381, 2 HR, 7 RBI

Gregor Blanco (RF) – .224/.309/.311, 15 XBH, 6-for-9 SB

Trevor Brown (C) – .237/.283/.364, 5 HR, 19 RBI

Gorkys Hernandez (CF) – .259/.298/.463, 7 XBH

Jarrett Parker (RF) – .236/.358/.394, 9 XBH (5 HR)

Kelby Tomlinson (2B) – .292/.370/.330, 4 XBH, 5-for-6 SB

Mets

Eric Campbell (1B) – .173/.284/.227, 2 XBH, 9 RBI (40 G)

Michael Conforto (LF) – .220/.310/.414, 12 HR, 42 RBI

Alejandro De Aza (CF) – .205/.297/.321, 6 HR, 4-for-7 SB

Kelly Johnson (2B) – .247/.306/.391, 10 HR, 4-for-4 SB

Ty Kelly (3B) – .241/.352/.345, 3 XBH (39 G)

Juan Lagares (CF) – .239/.301/.380, 12 XBH, 4-for-6 SB

Kevin Plawecki (C) – .197/298/.265, 7 XBH (1 HR)

Travis d’Arnaud (C) – .247/.307/.323, 11 XBH (4 HR)

The Mets have the clear advantage here. There wasn’t a single member of the GIants to even hit 20 home runs this year, while the Mets have 3 players who have hit 30 or more. The Mets also have an above average  hitter in slugging shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, whereas Brandon Crawford is maintaining his pedestrian batting line. The Mets do have the edge offensively, but the Giants have a defensive advantage. Brandon Crawford looks to be in line for yet another Gold Glove, and Buster Posey could be getting one too. While the rest of the Giants’ defense is relatively average, they do have two of the best players at the two most demanding positions. This is a stark contrast to the Mets “bat-first” profile, as the team has greatly sacrificed their ability to get outs on the field. Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, James Loney, Jose Reyes, and Curtis Granderson all posted negative defensive marks this season,and there’s no reason to think they’re going to suddenly cover more range or throw more accurately today.  If you look at how each team’s lineup has fared against their opposing pitcher, the Mets have had much more luck facing Bumgarner than the Giants have with Syndergaard. When comparing the lineups, New York clearly has the offensive advantage, but the Giants make up for it defensively.

Advantage: Mets

Bullpens

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Giants

LRP Jeff Samardzija (RHP) – 203.1 IP, 3.81 ERA, 176 K

LRP Johnny Cueto (RHP) – 219.2 IP, 2.79 ERA, 198 K

RP George Kontos (RHP) – 53.1 IP, 2.53 ERA, 35 K

RP Derek Law (RHP) – 55 IP, 2.13 ERA, 50 K

RP Javier Lopez (LHP) – 26.2 IP, 4.05 ERA, 15 K

RP Steven Okert (LHP) – 14 IP, 3.21 ERA, 14 K

RP Sergio Romo (RHP) – 30.2 IP, 2.64 ERA, 33 K

RP Will Smith (LHP) – 40.1 IP, 3.35 ERA, 48 K

RP Hunter Strickland (RHP) – 61.0 IP, 3.10 ERA, 57 K

CP Santiago Casilla (RHP) – 58 IP, 3.57 ERA, 65 K

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Mets

LRP Bartolo Colon (RHP) – 191.2 IP, 3.43 ERA, 128 K

RP Jerry Blevins (LHP) – 42.0 IP, 2.79 ERA, 52 K

RP Josh Edgin (LHP) – 10.1 IP, 5.23 ERA, 11 K

RP Robert Gsellman (RHP) – 44.2 IP, 2.42 ERA, 42 K

RP Addison Reed (RHP) – 77.2 IP, 1.97 ERA, 91 K

RP Hansel Robles (RHP) – 77.2 IP, 3.48 ERA, 85 K

RP Fernando Salas (RHP) – 73.2 IP, 3.91 ERA, 64 K

CP Jeurys Familia (RHP) – 77.2 IP, 2.55 ERA, 84 K

The Giants no longer feature the “lights out” bullpen they used to waltz into the postseason with, but Manager Bruce Bochy always seems to find a way to turn water into wine. That being said, the Mets have a far superior bullpen on paper. Addison Reed has been a stud all season long, and Jerry Blevins has done a fine job as the lefty-specialist. Closer Jeurys Familia, who led the league in saves this year, is certainly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the 9th inning. If you go back and look at the Giants’ “Even-Year Magic,” the majority of that wizardry has been on the part of Bruce Bochy, and his management of the team’s bullpen. Expect more mastery on Bochy’s behalf.

Advantage (on paper): Mets

Advantage (in my gut): Giants

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