There’s something about three-run homers in the wild card games of the playoffs. The San Francisco Giants got one in the ninth inning from Conor Gillaspie, finally giving the terrific Madison Bumgarner the run support he needed, beating the New York Mets 3-0 and advancing to the NLDS.
Both teams combined for just nine hits during the entire game, in what was a fantastic pitchers duel. Noah Syndergaard threw for 7 innings, giving up only 2 hits, allowing 3 walks and striking out 10. Addison Reed did well after him, but things fell apart when Jeurys Familia came on, allowing a hit and a walk before giving up the home run to Gillaspie, a player who was on the Giants team since 2008 before leaving in 2011, but has never been a part of a World Series run with them. He’s the only player with more than one hit in this game.
But Bumgarner was better than Syndergaard, turning in a complete game, giving up 4 hits, 2 walks and striking out 6. The pitcher won won the World Series MVP in 2014 and some say carried the Giants on his back throughout that whole postseason remains as clutch as possible without diving into statistics and analytics too much. Simply someone who thrives in big games, and this being an even year and all, despite the Giants poor form heading into the game, makes them incredibly dangerous.
So the postseason is set: The Giants will begin their division series against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, while the Los Angeles Dodgers play on the road against the Washington Nationals. In the American League, kicking things off a day early, the Toronto Blue Jays will face the Texas Rangers, while the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians will follow.