The NL Wild Card Game matchup is a #PitchersWhoRake dream
If a pitcher is going to hit a home run this postseason, there's a strong likelihood it will happen during the National League Wild Card Game between the Giants and Mets on Wednesday night, for two reasons:
1. Madison Bumgarner. 2. Noah Syndergaard.
Out of the 5,610 home runs hit in 2016 -- the second most in MLB history, by the way -- only 24 were hit by pitchers. Of the 18 pitchers who managed to slug a home run, only four did it more than once. And atop that list were Bumgarner and Syndergaard, who each mashed three homers in 2016.
Luckily for everyone who thinks the Pitcher Home Run Derby is a fantastic idea, they face off in the NL Wild Card Game.
Bumgarner's trio of dingers was actually a decline from his 2015 career high of five, when he led all pitchers and even tied for ninth on the Giants, but he once again managed to torment his division rival Clayton Kershaw with the long ball in 2016:
The other pitchers Bumgarner homered off of in 2016: The Braves' Aaron Blair and Syndergaard's teammate, Jacob deGrom.
Syndergaard's three homers, meanwhile, built upon the lone homer he hit during his rookie season. He got a boost from his two-dinger day against Kenta Maeda back in May, when he became the first pitcher in nine years to mash more than one home run in a game:
They're not just tied in number of homers, either. According to Statcast™, Bumgarner's longest was his 411-footer off of Blair, which he blasted with an exit velocity of 109.36 mph. Syndergaard's longest? A very similar 415-foot homer off of the D-backs' Brandon Shipley, which left his bat at 108.22 mph.
So, how will they fare against each other? Bumgarner and Syndergaard squared up once already this season, way back on May 1 at Citi Field. The Giants won that game, 6-1, but neither pitcher did much of anything at the plate: Each went 0-for-2 with a strikeout against the other. That's the other half of the equation -- sure, both pitchers can hit, but they can also pitch really, really well.
Of course, whichever team prevails will head to Chicago to face the Cubs and fellow #PitcherWhoRakes Jake Arrieta, who himself had a pair of dingers this year.