Thursday, October 13, 2016

The 2016 mfc WILDCARD Set- This is how it ends.

Well, we got there. 

And we did have to brace ourselves. 
First the waiting. Ugh. And then the buildup to game time.

The Mets themselves looked pretty relaxed.

The game certainly lived up to it's billing. A pitchers duel between two of the best. But when have you seen one this intense?  The most comfortable I was all evening was on the edge of my seat. I jumped out of that seat a number of times.


Doing the "live" card thing was ambitious but sometimes real life trumps fantasyland. And this was such an absorbing game. 
I did get a few cards up. 

Both Syndergaard and Bumgarner pitched brilliantly. Thor was on 100% and racking up one K after another. Bumgarner was his usual post season self. 

New York played right into his hands by trying to attack him early in the count. I don't know if this was something each individual player decided upon or if hitting coach Kevin Long gave a directive to do that. I don't think it was Terry's plan because mid-game he mentioned the fact that his boys needed to look at more pitches. If it was Long's advice, shame on him. I don't think he should be fired or anything like that but I'd sure like to yell at him.

Yea, during the game I did not find time to whip up a "LIVE" Bumgarner card. Bummer, huh?

Syndergaard's first fix was in the 4th inning. Up until then he had struck out five and had yet to surrender a hit. To start off the 4th Noah had Denard Span down 0-2 when the Giant batter wore Thor down with foul balls and worked out a walk. Everyone knew Span was going to try and steal second. Syndergaard's major armor chink is his holding base runners, or lack thereof. 

On this night Noah held Span on well, and he sped up his delivery to the plate a tad to keep things tight. He threw over twice, got two swinging strikes on Brandon Belt and then threw over again. Span took off for second on the next pitch.

The pitch was a ball, high. It was a good throw down to second by Rene Rivera. Not a great one, a little high and into the runner. It was a better jump by Dernard. Span beat the throw. But today's review rules don't care if you touched the base before the ball arrived. You have to stay in contact with it. Some part of your body has to be on the base at all times until the play is deemed to be over.

The screen grab above shows the moment Span lost contact with the bag. There were better pictures of the play (see below) but only this one captures that instant. I thought this was a big break for the Mets. That would have been the lead-off batter in scoring position. Even with all the replays and that picture above, I thought he was safe and that the call would be reversed. But amazingly, it wasn't, and a threat was averted.

Thor would walk Belt but then settle down and retire the next seven batters, continuing to hold the Giants hit-less.

New York had allowed Bumgarner to get through 3 innings only throwing 21 pitches. The major culprits: Reyes, Cabrera, Bruce, Rene Rivera (singled after fouling one off), and Loney (1 pitch, 2 outs) only saw 7 pitches altogether! 

In the fourth the Mets started trying to work the count more, seeing a total of 28 pitches in that one inning. But Bumgarner had the start he needed that would enable him to go the distance.

I love the glove. Maybe you can tell. Have I ever mentioned it?
Three cards, lol. Four actually, but one was cut.

Yea really had to see this from where he started from, a shade over in left, to really appreciate how much ground he covered and how quickly.
96.9? Ha! There was a better route? You're crazy Stat-Cast!
As soon as this shot by Brandon Belt left the bat I was up on my feet. 
Noah Syndergaard had just given up his first hit the batter before, 84 pitches into the game, and this time Denard Span easily stole second base. Embarrassingly so, and if this drive dropped we were going to be down a run. And I thought it had a real serious chance of leaving the yard. Granderson just kept going back and picking up speed as he ran. It was one of those catches that you really don't think there's a chance until the ball drops into the fielder's glove.

First I jumped up and when it landed in leather I was doing this:

The Mets always give us something special in the post season. This was one of those things. You can add Thor's performance to that list. Curtis smacked that wall pretty hard but he looked no worse for the wear. This was simply a magnificent catch in the clutch.

 We've had a number of 'em in the post.

If we had a padded outfield wall in 1973 (no stadiums did back then) Rusty would not have banged up his shoulder and we would have gone all the way. Don't question it.

From 2006, before I called 'em fantasy cards

^The best?^ It's very debatable.

Back to the game.

In his 7th and final inning Syndergaard is beaten to the bag by ex-Met Angel Pagan. Noah would get out of the inning without a problem.

What a performance.
Should he have gone further? If Mets batters had put some runs on the board maybe things would have gone differently. Could Terry have sent him out for the 8th with the shortest of leashes? Why? He got hit a bit in the 7th. We've got Reed and Familia and that's the best one-two closing combo in the game right now. I'm sure this will be a great off season debate. I had no problem with the decision but it did make me move up to the very furthest edge of my seat.

When I'm shocked I usually don't type anything.

What can I say about Familia? He just put in the best season I've ever seen from a Mets closer. Some are trying to say he chokes in the big game. Bullshit. Last post season he saved so many crucial games. This year we needed every single win he secured to get to the wildcard.

It's much too soon to hang that label on him, so stop. I won't even say please. Just stop.

Personally my Benitez Syndrome is still in regression. Because Familia is one of the top three closers out there today. It's hard enough to be a closer without crap like that seeping into a persons head.


In retrospect these two cards are hard to close with, considering what the Cubs did to Bumgarner his next time out. They made him throw pitches and they got into the San Francisco pen.

I'll make the cards. I consider it my job to document the season on digital cardboard as I have done since 2014.

Now I had to remark on Bumgarner's remarkable performance but I see no reason to embellish or even caption a card that has an opposing team celebrating on our home field. Unfortunately I have to make some kind of card denoting what occurred. 

Because we just took an amazing wild ride that was the 2016 New York Mets season, 
and this is how it ends.


Hell with it. I ain't closing with San Francisco cards. 
I'm sure I'll have more to say about the 2016 season. But I'll wait til after the World Series. We should know by then.

Because, for now, IMO, everything revolves around if we retain Yoenis Cespedes.
I will address that topic before the World Series starts.


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