The National League Wild Card game pitred the last two NL Champs: the SF Giants and the NY Mets (thus being the KC Royals’ opponents in the World Series the last two seasons). Both teams started their aces: Madison Bumgarner (MadBum) and Noah Syndergaard (Thor), and the game was exactly what everyone hoped for.
Bumgarner and Syndergaard matched zero for zero for seven innings. Syndergaard did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the sixth. The Mets went to the bullpen first, as Addison Reed skated into and out of trouble in the eighth by striking out Hunter Pence with the bases loaded.
The Mets went to closer Jeurys Familia in the ninth with the game tied at 0-0. He allowed a leadoff double, before getting a strikeout. Joe Panik battled and worked a walk. Up came little known Conor Gillaspie, who took the third pitch from Familia into the left field seats for a three-run home run to give the Giants a 3-0 lead.
That meant Bumgarner went back out for the ninth, and retired the Mets in order for the complete game victory. Now it is off to Chicago for the NLDS that begins on Friday.
The NY Mets did not have any former Royals on their Wild Card roster. However, the Giants have four.
Johnny Cueto, who the Royals acquired last July to help them win the World Series, was on the roster for possible relief work and was seen stretching in the later innings. He is expected to be in the Giants rotation and could start Game 1. Lefty reliever Will Smith bolstered the beleaguered Giants bullpen this July when they acquired him from Milwaukee. Smith last pitched for the Royals back in 2013 and has since thrived, walking just 18 this season with opponents hitting just .212 against him.
The Giants have two former Royals outfielders on their roster: Gregor Blanco and Gorkys Hernandez. Blanco hasn’t been with the Royals since 2011, but has been with the Giants the last five seasons (for two of their World Series championships). Hernandez played in Triple-A Omaha in 2013 and 2014, and in 26 games this season with SF, he hit .259. He also started two of the Giants last three games of the season.
None of the four former Royals played in the Wild Card game.