The last time the New York Mets stepped foot in the playoffs was in 2016. This may not seem like that long ago. Many Mets fans have suffered through much longer droughts.
The 2016 playoff appearance was entirely too brief. In a one-game Wild Card game versus the San Francisco Giants, the Mets were defeated in one of the most soul-crushing of ways. After seven spectacular innings from Noah Syndergaard featuring only two hits allowed and 10 strikeouts, the Amazins were able to get to the final frame with a chance at victory.
Luck wasn’t on New York’s side in this one. Despite having home-field advantage and eight shutout innings from Syndergaard and Addison Reed, the team failed to win the game. We can blame Madison Bumgarner for this.
MLB postseason master Madison Bumgarner puts Mets in their place
On October 5, 2016, Bumgarner brutalized the Mets offense for nine innings. He made it look easy, too. While far from overpowering, Bumgarner held the Mets to four hits while striking out six.
A leadoff double by T.J. Rivera to lead off the bottom of the fifth was the lone extra-base hit of the game. The team sprinkled in three more singles with the last coming in the eighth inning when Ty Kelly tried to start a one-out rally.
Bumgarner wasn’t having any of it. He erased Mets like they were a poorly drawn doodle anyone would be embarrassed to sketch. Over the course of 119 pitches, Bumgarner did what he always seemed to do well: get outs in the postseason.
Drawing the Giants in this Wild Card game didn’t work out for the Mets. Any other pitcher and the results may have gone differently. Just a single run by the Amazins’ offense would have made the situation in the top of the ninth have a different feel. Instead, Terry Collins brought in the team’s closer, Jeurys Familia, to get them into the bottom half of the inning with the score still knotted up at zero-a-piece.
This wasn’t what the baseball gods had in mind. With two on and one out, Conor Gillaspie, joined the lost list of Mets curse words. A three-run home run from a man with only 33 home runs in his career put the Giants in front 3-0. Gillaspie didn’t play a major league game again after 2017.
Therapy isn’t about assigning blame, but let’s point a finger anyway
From the therapist’s couch, there are a lot Mets fans can blame for how this one ended.
Familia gave up the home run. Gillaspie is the one who hit it. The Mets offense didn’t do a single thing to support the pitching staff. Why didn’t the Mets win the National League East thus preventing the opportunity to even go into a one-and-done situation?
Therapy isn’t about assigning blame. In this particular case, however, the finger gets pointed squarely at Bumgarner.
For 3 hours and 11 minutes, he didn’t break a sweat. The game may have taken place at Citi Field, but this was his turf; the postseason.
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Every year, 29 MLB teams see their season end in disappointment. It might be a win in the regular season before saying goodbye to the year as only the best march on. With four seasons now in the books following this loss, it still stings.