NL Wild Card: SF vs. NYM — A pitching duel at its finest

Man, I am not doing well at all this postseason for my predictions. Though to be perfectly fair, all 4 Wild Card teams were relatively evenly matched with their opponent, so predicting which team for both wild card games was basically a toss-up anyway. And as is the case with any game, one team always has a 50-50 shot at winning and (oddly enough) a 50-50 shot at losing.

So, the Giants flew across the country to visit the Mets for the NL Wild Card tonight in Queens. And it was a battle of the pitching greats: postseason icon Bumgarner vs. one of New York’s aces Syndergaard, or more commonly “Bum v. Thor”. And boy, was this a pitching duel, if I’ve ever seen one. It was just ridiculous. The first hit of the game wasn’t until the bottom of the 3rd off Bumgarner. But the first hit off Thor wasn’t until the 6th inning.

Now, Thor (Syndergaard) threw 108 pitches through his 7 innings, giving up just 2 hits, 3 walks, and no runs, but what’s most impressive is his wicked 10 strike outs. Mets’ reliever Reed got himself into a bit of a jam in the 8th, precariously loading the bases in his inning, but getting out of it in the end.

But then reliever Familia got into his own set of trouble in the 9th that had more disastrous consequences for the Mets. A lead-off double and a 1-out walk put runners on base so that a big 3-run home run by Gillaspie broke the 0-0 tied game.

Two outs later, and the Giants were looking for their needed 3 outs to grab the win. They turned to the only person who can help them sail through this postseason. Their starter Bumgarner. Yes, Bum threw a beautiful complete game — 119 pitches, 4 allowed hits, 2 walks, 6 strike outs, and no runs for the win. Scary impressive for anyone who doesn’t remember the 2014 postseason.

Final score: 3-0 Giants.

Tomorrow, the ALDS begins as the Wild Card champs Blue Jays face the AL leaders Rangers in the afternoon, and the Red Sox face the Indians for the night game. Friday the NLDS begins with tonight’s Wild Card victors Giants facing the Cubs in Chicago, and the Dodgers against the Nationals.

And here’s my predictions for the Division Series (a best-of-5 game series):

  • ALDS: Rangers over Blue Jays in 5 games, Red Sox over Indians in 4 games.
  • NLDS: Cubs over the Giants in 4 games, Dodgers over the Nationals in 5 games.

And after the start of the postseason, I’m prepared to be really wrong again.

So we have some Yankee news too, Yankee Universe. First, the special committee for the Hall of Fame has nominated 10 players, managers, and executives for a special vote this December during the Winter Meetings. (Nominees: players Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, and Mark McGwire; managers Davey Johnson and “Sweet” Lou Piniella; and executives John Scherholz, Allan H. “Bud” Selig, and George Steinbrenner.) Yes, Steinbrenner and Piniella are nominated for the Hall of Fame, and deservedly so. Nominees who receive at least 75% of the vote will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame next summer.

Also, today, Yankees GM Brian Cashman gave his annual “State of the Yankees” address for the media to give a few updates. CC Sabathia will get some corrective surgery on his knee. It’s been scheduled for some time to clean-up the area that was previously repaired in 2014. Other than Sabathia, Tanaka and Pineda are expected to fill 2 other starter spots next season, leaving 2 more vacancies on the rotation. Cashman expects to look for some arms in the off-season to fill these spots with some fresh talent.

As previously predicted, there will be a few positions during Spring Training that will be a competition of sorts. First base is expected to be between Tyler Austin and the returning Greg Bird. And right field is up for grabs, between Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and Rob Refsnyder. There’s always something else that no one expects to happen during Spring Training. It’s what makes March kind of fun — the unexpected. But I do expect a few interesting moves this off-season and a really good Spring. Expect the unexpected? Every day!

Go Yankees!

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