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NL Wild Card Game: Giants vs. Mets, a battle of aces

Say what you want about the Wild Card game, MadBum vs. Thor in a must win affair is exciting.

The Record-USA TODAY Sports

The playoffs kicked off last night in pretty grand fashion. It took extra innings to decide who would move on to play the Texas Rangers in the ALDS, and with a mighty dinger in the bottom of the 11th, the Jays were victorious.

You might have heard about Buck Showalter's awful curious decision to not use his best reliever in spite of repeated opportunities. This is an A's blog, so in an admittedly blatant attempt to make all things A's related, be happy that Bob Melvin is at least a decent bullpen manager. He would have definitely gotten Zach Britton in the game in that situation, even if Ryan Madson would have given up a home run immediately after.

Tonight, we've got the Giants and the Mets. While this particular blog isn't exactly impartial, there's little doubt that this is an excellent matchup for a sport that's constantly trying to improve its popularity.

Postseason hero and noted pit stain Madison Bumgarner starts for the Giants. For the Mets, it's Noah Syndergaard, his 100 MPH fastball and his 93 MPH slider. Kershaw aside, these are arguably the two best starters in the game and you can expect a low scoring affair.

The Giants are in a position much like the 2014 A's. After dominating the first half, the Giants fell off a complete cliff, waiting till the final day of the regular season to clinch a playoff berth. Much of their demise was bullpen induced who, along with a lineup that couldn't score for weeks on end, single handedly lost numerous game for the G's.

To quell those bullpen woes, the Giants will reportedly turn to starter Johnny Cueto to close things out, should the Giants find themselves in that spot. Playoff baseball, baby.

The Mets route to the playoffs wasn't smooth either, though much of their woes were injury induced. After Syndergaard, the Mets will turn to legitimate relief arms. If injuries weren't a thing, it's likely we'd see some of Matt Harvey, Jacob De Grom, or Steven Matz out of the pen. They are, so the Mets are without those options.

Former A's

For the Giants, their lone former Athletic is the artist formerly known as Jairo Garcia, Santiago Casilla. His poor second half has kept him out of favor in late game situations, and it's unlikely he'll appear in the game.

The Mets employ some former Athletics who are still lovable all these years later. Yoenis Cespedes will get the start in left, and the slugger has been an absolute star since arriving in New York. Jerry Blevins will likely get the call should the Mets need an important lefty out. Bartolo Colon is unlikely to get in the game, but his mere presence is enough to help the Mets.

First pitch is at 5:09 which is annoying. Let's go A's!

Today's Lineups

Denard Span - CF Jose Reyes - 3B
Brandon Belt - 1B Asdrubal Cabrera - SS
Buster Posey - C Yoenis Cespedes - LF
Hunter Pence - RF Curtis Granderson - CF
Brandon Crawford - SS T.J. Rivera - 2B
Angel Pagan - LF Jay Bruce - RF
Joe Panik - 2B Rene Rivera - C
Conor Gillaspie - 3B James Loney - 1B
Madison Bumgarner - LHP Noah Syndergaard - RHP