October baseball doesn’t get much better than Wednesday’s National League Wild Card Game.

Two iconic franchises will square off with their aces on the mound in a pressure-packed, do-or-die contest. The winner of the showdown between the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants will then have a chance to spoil the Chicago Cubs’ quest to end their World Series drought in the National League Division Series.

Anthony DiComo of MLB.com noted Noah Syndergaard will take the mound for the Mets, while Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News noted the Giants will counter with Madison Bumgarner.

Here is a look at the schedule information for the enticing duel, a preview for the game and a prediction.



Matchup: San Francisco Giants at New York Mets

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 5


Time: 8 p.m. ET


Preview and Prediction

New York clinched a spot in the postseason with a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, while San Francisco earned its wild-card berth with a 7-1 victory over the archrival Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the Mets reached the postseason, considering they were in the World Series last year. However, that would be ignoring the arduous journey New York took to the 2016 playoffs.

A loaded starting rotation lost Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz to season-ending injuries. Veteran third baseman David Wright is also out for the year, and the team as a whole had to overcome a slow start to the campaign.

According to DiComo, the Mets entered Saturday’s game with the best record in MLB since Aug. 20, when they were two games under .500.

Despite all of those challenges, the Mets’ World Series dreams are still alive. 

Manager Terry Collins discussed his team’s outlook, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com): “When you’re in, you’re capable of anything. Anything can happen. We’ve got our ace going on Wednesday. If he can spin one up and you get a couple of breaks, you never know.”

The Mets are 4-3 against the Giants this season, but don’t put much stock in regular-season results with this franchise. They were an abysmal 0-7 against the Chicago Cubs last year before sweeping them out of the National League Championship Series.

It will be up to Syndergaard to push that record to 5-3 against the Giants in 2016. The 2016 All-Star sports a 2.60 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 218 strikeouts in 183.2 innings.

He pitched twice against the Giants this season but ended up with vastly different results:

Although the first start wasn’t great, the Mets ace should have plenty of confidence after his most recent outing against the Giants. Daren Willman of MLB.com pointed out what made him effective:

Syndergaard won’t be the only lights-out starter toeing the rubber Wednesday.

Bumgarner, a four-time All-Star, is loaded with postseason experience. The 2014 World Series and NLCS MVP boasts a 7-3 record with a 2.14 ERA, a 0.883 WHIP and 77 strikeouts in 14 playoff games.

The Wild Card Game will be nothing new for him, either, considering he pitched nine shutout innings in that environment against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014, striking out 10 along the way.

Like Syndergaard, Bumgarner made two starts against his next opponent this year, with mixed results:

Bumgarner and Syndergaard give their respective teams the best chance to win the Wild Card Game, but the victor will be behind schedule with its starting rotation when it faces a well-rested Cubs team and a lineup that features potential National League MVP Kris Bryant and the powerful Anthony Rizzo in the NLDS.

Still, that is a problem the Giants and Mets would gladly take with their seasons on the line.

While Bumgarner’s postseason history is daunting for New York, the home team will prevail Wednesday. The Mets, who are playing red-hot baseball, hit Bumgarner around the last time they faced him. They will get some early run support for Syndergaard, who will put things on cruise control and keep his team’s improbable run rolling.

Get ready for a 2015 NLCS rematch, because the Mets will advance in front of a raucous Citi Field crowd.

Prediction: Mets 3, Giants 1

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