New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants
October 6, 2016 3:00am (Jordan Time), Citi Field, NY
Noah Syndergaard (14-9, ERA 2.60) vs Madison Bumgarner (15-9 ERA 2.74)
Most of the Mets’ young starting pitchers the Mets are famous for ended their season early (Matt Harvey, shoulder surgery; Jacob deGrom, forearm surgery; Steven Matz, shoulder and elbow injury), leaving Noah Syndergaard alone.
Syndergaard’s performance in Citi Field (6-6, ERA 2.87) was bad compared to his away game performance (8-3, ERA 2.29). Syndergaard pitched the fastest four-seam fastball on average (98.3 mph) in the entire league, and so the speed of his pitch is the most important factor that will decide the game’s flow. In 2016, when he pitched average of 98 mph or above, he recorded 2.27 ERA (in 17 games). However, when he pitched below average of 98mph, he recorded 2.98 ERA (14 games). The bad news for Mets is that in his last 5 games, he has pitched below average 98mph.
Another key point of this game for Syndergaard is whether his slider makes the Giants batters swing. His high-speed slider that he learned from Harvey and deGrom made him even more untouchable compared to his rookie year. Also, the batters of Giants had difficult times with hitting sliders this season (They were ranked 25th in batting average in MLB, and last place in slugging average when facing opponents’ sliders).
Most MLB fans know that the Giants have recently qualified for the postseason in even years (2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016), winning the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. And, more importantly, they have one of the best post-season pitchers in MLB history, Madison Bumgarner (14 games, 7 wins, 3 losses, ERA 2.14). One thing that the Giants do have to worry about is that Bumgarner did not end the season well and he has pitched too much in the past few years (270 innings in 2014, 218.1 innings in 2015, 226.2 innings in 2016). Moreover, he only gets to take 4 days of rest while Syndergaard would be taking 6 days of rest. But Bumgarner’s all-time performance in Citi Field is amazing: 4 wins in 4 games with a 0.62 ERA. The Mets’ batters were not able to recover their best condition in the second half of the season, so the Giants still have a chance to win.
Prediction: San Francisco Giants will win the game not only because the Mets’ batters are in a slump, but also because the Giants’ players have more experience in the postseason.