Wild Card Dominance
Noah Syndergaard is a fantastic pitcher and has had a lot of outstanding starts at the Major League level. He has three complete games and two shutouts in his career. The best game I’ve ever seen him throw, especially considering the circumstances, came in the 2016 Wild Card Game against the Giants.
The Mets rallied down the stretch in September while being very shorthanded to somehow land a postseason spot for a second consecutive year. The Mets were without Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz. Syndergaard would’ve probably been the choice to start the Wild Card Game anyways, but being without those pitchers made things even easier for Terry Collins to decide.
Syndergaard and the shorthanded Mets were due to face the greatest postseason pitcher in my era and arguably ever in Madison Bumgarner and the Giants at Citi Field. The Mets were so shorthanded, they started T.J. Rivera at second base and he hit fifth for the Mets in a win or take all game. Rivera played in just 33 major league games prior to this.
A hot take of mine is that Syndergaard outdueled Bumgarner on this night. Is that me being a biased Mets fan? Maybe. But Syndergaard was lights out.
He threw seven shutout innings against the Giants allowing just two hits, three walks, and striking out 10. He threw 108 pitches and gave the Mets every chance possible to win this game.
Unfortunately for Syndergaard and the Mets, Bumgarner went the distance. He threw a four-hit shutout, striking out six and throwing 119 pitches, a number we rarely see nowadays.
Jeurys Familia gave up a three-run home run to Connor Gillespie in the top of the ninth to give the Giants a 3-0 lead, and Bumgarner closed the Mets out in the bottom half.
He didn’t win the game, but he definitely wasn’t the reason the Mets lost. Syndergaard once again shined bright on the big stage and dominated the Giants on this night.