In a surprising feat of futility, the Mets managed to make the 2016 Wild Card game the second most horrific matchup between Noah Syndergaard’s Mets and Madison Bumgarner’s Giants after their 3-2 loss in a sixteen inning marathon on Thursday.
Bright-eyed and full of life, the Mets started things off on the right foot from the first batter that stood in the box against Bumgarner as Jeff McNeil led off the game with a double and J.D. Davis followed up with a single to put men on the corners. A preview of things to come, this hope and optimism was quickly squashed like a bug after Pete Alonso’s double play produced two outs and only brought one run home as it emptied the bases. Looking back, one can’t help but think that anything other than a double play could’ve brought this crash landing of a game to an end hours before it mercifully concluded.
From that point, much like the aforementioned Wild Card battle, offense was hard to come by for the next few innings until the Giants turned a trio of singles into a run after Pablo Sandoval chugged home on Kevin Pillar’s sacrifice fly. Little did anyone in that stadium or at home know that another baserunner wouldn’t safely touch the plate for nearly twelve full innings of baseball.
Both teams produced minor threats against the starters in what time they had left, such as the Mets failing to score after Noah Syndergaard struck out with men on first and second in the fifth, while Madison Bumgarner did the same with men on second and third in the seventh.
From that point on, the seagulls diving in and out of the camera’s view ended up being a better show than the Giants and Mets’ efforts at baseball. Circling deeper into the pit of madness that this game had turned into, the Mets looked to finally be breaking through in their half of the tenth inning as Robinson Cano’s single and Amed Rosario’s double put men on second and third with none out. Proving yet again that hope is a luxury that Mets fans can’t afford, a Wilson Ramos intentional walk was sandwiched between three strikeouts to end the inning with Cano a tantalizing 90 feet away from home.
As the San Francisco skies darkened and the east coast plunged deeper into the dead of night, the Mets and Giants were evenly matched in their painful inability to get any sort of action going. Seconds became minutes and those minutes became hours as the two teams’ bullpens kept each other’s offense off the scoreboard for the rest of the 10th inning, eventually doing the same for the duration of the 11th inning, the 12th, the 13th, the 14th, and yes, even the 15th inning came and went with nothing more a smattering of singles and walks to show for it.
As the late night crawled ever closer to becoming the early morning, the Mets were no closer to being a competent offense until one fateful at bat from the man we call the polar bear: Pete Alonso. With six hitless at bats under his belt, Alonso cranked Williams Jerez’s changeup over the seagulls and into the cool San Francisco night to give the Mets the 2-1 lead they so desperately sought.
As is the case with any lead the Mets secure, a nagging sensation of uneasiness could be felt as Chris Mazza came out for his second inning of work on the night, needing only three outs to end this calamity just short of six hours long. Before fans had the chance to feel any more of that anxiety, Alex Dickerson smacked a double into right field and instantly put Mazza and the Mets in a precarious position with no progress made in the outs department. With Brandon Crawford up next, Mazza found himself ahead 1-2 after four pitches. Two pitches later, it was a full count and that uneasiness crept closer. Much like that fidgety feeling, Crawford wasn’t going away nearly a quickly as you would like. The seventh pitch of the at bat was fouled off as were the next three. The seventh time that Brandon Crawford made contact in his at bat, the ball found a landing spot between the lines and off the wall in left field. Alex Dickerson raced home and that sinking feeling had turned into a haunting reality yet again.
Austin Slater was the first man up after the game was tied and much like the 11th pitch that Crawford saw, he was hit. With nobody behind him in the bullpen, another mound visit meant more strategy and words of encouragement for the last of the Mets’ hurlers with those three more outs still out of his reach. Unfortunately for Mazza, the Giants’ bats connected better than the words of wisdom did as Kevin Pillar singled to load the bases with Donovan Solano ready to be a hero. As Mazza’s 26th pitch of the night crossed the plane of the plate and was promptly sent past one of the five infielders, that persistent uneasiness turned into the familiar depressing realization that the Mets had done it again as the book closed on a 3-2 loss to San Francisco.
Tonight, the Mets find themselves back under the lights of Oracle Park as Jacob deGrom will face off against Tyler Beede at 10:10EDT.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Noah Syndergaard +29.1% WPA, Robert Gsellman +25.5% WPA, Luis Avilan, Justin Wilson, Jeruys Familia, and Edwin Diaz, +12.8% WPA, Amed Rosario +10.8% WPA, Those who went to bed
Big losers: Chris Mazza -68.9% WPA, Jeff McNeil -26.3% WPA, Todd Frazier -21.8% WPA, Dominic Smith -13.5% WPA, Those who stayed awake
Total pitcher WPA: +46.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: -96.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s go-ahead homer, +34.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Brandon Crawford’s game-tying double, -37.6% WPA