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The NL Wild Card Game is Wednesday night, and it has a whole lot of promise. The defending NL champion Mets and Noah Syndergaard will host the Giants and Madison Bumgarner in a winner-take-all, loser-go-home affair. Ace vs. ace. The Mets’ horrible luck against the Giants even-year dark wizardry. This one has everything!
The Mets are in a weird place since they don’t exactly have the team that got them here. Neil Walker is done for the year. Wilmer Flores isn’t expected back. Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Jacob deGrom are all out with injuries. They still have Thor, though, and Bartolo Colon behind him, and playoff teams from years past have won with less. Plus, all they need to do is win this single-game round against the Giants, and then they can start thinking about leaning more heavily on those two when they can in order to make up for the lack of rotation depth. They have to get through Wednesday first, though.
The Giants could make that easy. They could also make it incredibly difficult. It depends on which version of the 2016 team shows up, as they had the best record in baseball before the All-Star break, and were one of the more pathetic teams around after it. They lost a whole bunch of close games, though, so maybe they aren’t as bad as they showed during that latter stretch. Or, maybe the way the postseason works, with a heavy emphasis on bullpens, will be the Giants’ doom.
Maybe it won’t matter on Wednesday with Bumgarner on the mound, given his shortest appearance in the 2014 playoffs was five innings ... in relief. That’s kind of the thing here: both of these teams have issues, but they don’t have to worry about them until Friday. For now, they just need to topple the flawed team in their way.
- The Orioles lost to the Blue Jays in Tuesday’s AL Wild Card Game, and did so without using their best reliever, Zach Britton.
- Buck Showalter used Ubaldo Jimenez instead of Zach Britton, citing Jimenez’s recent success on the mound while ignoring that for almost 1,000 innings before those last few starts, he was :trash emoji:. The result? Edwin Encarnacion went so deep.
- Even Orioles players — including Ubaldo! — are wondering why Britton wasn’t used.
- We should be thanking Showalter, though, at least a little bit, because now the Blue Jays and Rangers will face off in a rematch of the blood feud that includes last year’s bonkers ALDS, as well as this season’s Rougned Odor punching Jose Bautista in the damn face.
- We didn’t include Showalter Miscue as the most painful way the Orioles could be eliminated this postseason, but these other nine descriptions are still good!
- We’re just a game in, so our predictions are still good, too. Well, not for those of us who picked the Orioles, but only a few of us had them going any further than the Wild Card round, anyway.
- A Blue Jays fan threw a can of beer at Hyun-soo Kim in a teachable moment. The lesson being "don’t throw beer at baseball players/anyone, you idiot."
- In not postseason news, Julie DiCaro explains why baseball teams need to stop using dressing up as women as a hazing ritual.
- White Sox leadership blew a great chance to compete in 2016.
- It’s possible that the Braves’ managerial race is down to just two candidates.
- The Pirates’ draft position — their first-round pick won’t be protected — makes signing major free agents even less likely.
- Here’s a deep dive into the what and why of bat flips in Korea.