The San Francisco Giants were pretty terrible after the All-Star break. They went 30-42 and barely qualified for the NL Wild Card. Still, all they have to do is beat the Mets on Wednesday night, and they’re back in the NLDS.
Handing the ball to Madison Bumgarner – the best road pitcher in postseason history – is pretty nice, too.
“The great thing is the entire second half doesn’t matter and neither does the last week, when they actually played like they knew what they were doing again,” CSNBayArea.com writer Ray Ratto said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I think it’s an interesting dilemma for the Giants because on the one hand, he is their best playoff pitcher; on the other hand, he gave up a career high in home runs, and the one thing the Mets do is hit home runs. They don’t do much else offensively, but they will put a ball over a fence. It’s a fascinating matchup. It’s not like the Giants are going to likely beat the hell out of Noah Syndergaard, either. I think you might have a game a lot like the (AL Wild Card).”
The Giants have had a lot of success in even years, winning World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014. By that standard, they’re due to win another.
But don’t bet on it.
“Hanging your hat on history only takes you so far, especially in a one-game series,” Ratto said. “You could probably make a more compelling argument in the next round against the Cubs or if they got to the NLCS against the Dodgers or Washington. But in a one-game series, it really boils down to whether your pitcher does a better job than the other guys’ pitcher – and they found that out two years ago when Bumgarner crushed the Pirates. So I don’t think they’re relying on that for this series. They’ve mentioned it, but only in passing, because they know that one game, anything can go. So I think that’s something you may hear more of if they get past this game (Wednesday), but I don’t think you’re going to hear a ton of it going in.”
If Bumgarner can keep the ball in the park, the Giants have a great chance to win. After all, the Mets have scored 51 percent of their runs via the long ball.
If the Mets have to play small to win, they likely won’t.
“Their bats aren’t good, but they hit a ton of home runs,” Ratto said. “That’s the one thing in a one-game (playoff). You can’t hang your hat on it, but it’s not a bad way to approach one game. The Mets are who they are, and if they get by (the Giants), I don’t give them much of a chance against the Cubs, but they can’t worry about the Cubs yet. They have to get around (Wednesday), and Syndergaard, quite frankly, is their best hope. I think their best hope is that they can get a couple homers early, get a lead and force the Giants to catch up to them. I don’t know if the Giants would be able to do that. I think the Giants are much better playing with a lead. Most teams are. So it’s really going to boil down not to all the things the Mets don’t have, but what they can get in one game. Because that’s the goofy thing about this. Over a series, I don’t like the Mets very much at all. But in one game, it’s a coin flip.”