Wednesday, October 5, 2016

2016 NL Wild Card Game Preview: Giants vs Mets

Pregame analysis of a single baseball game, let alone predicting the outcome just might be the silliest of exercises in writing about sports, but whattheheck?  We don't have anything better to write about so might as well try to break this one down.  So, how do I see this one shaping up?  Any single game analysis has to start with the starting pitchers and we have two of the very best going in this one.  While they may have different styles of pitching, both pitchers are true aces in every sense of the word, both have extensive postseason experience and success and are remarkably closely matched.  Here are their respective pitching lines for the season:

Noah "Thor" Syndergaard:  14-9, 2.60, 183.2 IP, 2.11 BB/9, 10.68 K/9.

Madison "Madbum" Bumgarner:  15-9, 2.74, 226.2 IP, 2.14 BB/9, 9.97 K/9.

Yup.  That's about as well matched as you can get.  Sure, after you adjust for park factors and defenses behind them and deviation from expected norms, Syndergaard has the better FIP/xFIP and higher fWAR, but come on!  Syndergaard may have the better DIPS, but it's not like Bumgarner's is chopped liver and he has the better defense behind him, so there!  They are evenly matched!

So how about those lineups?  Most analyses of postseason games and series focus on individual position matchups.  I am going to focus on team stats.  I think you will agree that there are some interesting similarities and differences here(league ranking is in parentheses):

Giants: .258/.329/.398, 1437 H(9), 973 1B(6), 280 2B(11), 54 3B(2), 130 HR(28), 715 R(19), 9.1 BB%, 17.7 K%, wOBA= .315, wRC+= 98, BsR= -2.6, Off= -18.2, Def= 83.4(2).

Mets:  .246/.316/.417, 1342 H(26), 865 1B(24), 240 2B(29), 19 3B(26), 218 HR(5), 671 R(26),  8.5 BB%, 21.3 K%, wOBA= .315, wRC+= 97, BsR= -7.6, Off= -27.4, Def= 32.9.

So putting those numbers into DrB's Number Cruncher and we get 2 offenses that are approximately equally effective, but get it done in wildly different ways.  The Mets hit dingers.  The Giants keep the line moving.  The Giants are slightly better baserunners.  While both teams play good defense, the Giants are elite defenders second in MLB only to the Cubs, while the Mets are merely good.

Then there are the bullpens and I'm not going to sugarcoat this.  The Mets have a better bullpen and it's not very close.  The Mets have an elite closer in Jeurys Familia and an even more elite setup man in Addison Reed.  Their next 3 guys, Fernando Salas, Hansel Robles and LHP Jeremy Blevins don't exactly stink.  The Giants bullpen has stiffened over the last couple of weeks, so the chasm may not be quite as wide as it looks, but I don't think Evel Knievel would try to jump it.  Let's just face it:  If the Mets have the lead after 6 innings, they are probably going to win.  If the Giants have the lead after 8 innings, they MIGHT win.

This is about as even a matchup as you will find in a postseason game/series.  Yes, either pitcher can have and has had a bad day, but chances are this is going to be a low scoring game.  If the Mets win, it will likely be due to Bumgarner catching too much of the plate and giving up a dinger or two.  If the Giants win, it will likely by due to a Met's fielding error or heads up baserunning play by the Giants.  If it is tied in the late innings and it becomes a war of bullpen attrition, gotta say I don't like the Giants chances in that one.

Still, this is very winnable for the Giants.  Bumgarner needs to avoid giving up the early dinger and give the Giants a chance to score first.  Whoever scores first will have a huge advantage.  The Giants then need to play excellent, error-free defense and keep the line moving, make themselves tough outs, force Syndergaard to throw a lot of pitches and try to get to him before Terry Collins has a chance to go to his bullpen.


  1. Bochy couldn't cut Casilla loose but he'll only get in the game if it's lost or the 28th inning, then it's lost.
    If he had carried Sanchez as the emergency C, Brown could have been used as a PH, but if it came to that, it's probably over.
    I like Cueto on -- it's a plus for him to be there even if he doesn't get in the game. But if it reaches 18 innings....

  2. In case of a tied game in the late innings, I can imagine Bochy going with the best pitcher available and not necessarily a relief pitcher. Don't you think that's a possibility? Would you put Cueto or Samardjiza with the season in line or one guy of the relief pitching group ?


  3. The other interesting thing is the giants have cueto and samardzija on the roster, I can see bochy using those 2 for the latest innings and even to close the game if need it, I just don't see bochy forcing things with a shaky bullpen having those 2 available.