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Simulating the Wild Card Game

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Is this a useful exercise? Absolutely not. But it goes well for the Giants, so you should like it anyway.

Seen here: a picture from a different game in a different stadium involving these same two teams
Seen here: a picture from a different game in a different stadium involving these same two teams
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants play in the Wild Card Game tomorrow, and we don't know what to expect from this crazy team. Will they be good? Will they be bad? Will their performance in this one game ultimately not be especially telling about the team's talent level especially when compared with the 162-game sample size that is the regular season? Ha ha ha, who knows?

Computers! Computers know. So I went to this SimMatchup site, put in the Giants and Mets, adjusted their lineups to be something close to what we should expect them to be for the game tomorrow, and ran 10 simulations to see who the computer said would win. Then I wrote about those simulations here! This is the subject of my article, the meat of which will begin now.

Game 1: Giants win 1-0

Madison Bumgarner throws 6 scoreless innings (!), Conor Gillaspie homers for the game's only run (!!), and the bullpen throws 3 scoreless innings (!!!) with the save going to Santiago Casilla (record scratch). Okay, maybe the system has some kinks. If it helps, Casilla loaded the bases with one out before wriggling out of it. That probably doesn't help, huh? Fine. On to the next one.

Game 2: Giants win 3-1

The Giants get to Syndergaard early in this one, striking for three runs in the first. With one out, Brandon Belt singles, Buster Posey singles, Hunter Pence doubles, and Brandon Crawford triples. But in case you're thinking that's not a very Giants-y rally, Crawford does get stranded at third, so that part at least checks out. Also checks out: Bumgarner throws 8 innings, allowing just one run and striking out 11. Also not checks out: Casilla's still the closer, and he pitches through a leadoff error with ease.

Game 3: Giants lose 6-9 (NOT NICE)

Bumgarner's a disaster in this one, giving up 8 runs in 3 innings. Angel Pagan has a nice game, going 3 for 3, and Conor Gillaspie hits a homer (again!), but the Giants are just in too deep of a hole to come back. Albert Suarez, Derek Law, George Kontos, and Hunter Strickland combine to allow just one run in five innings, striking out a combined 8 along the way.

Game 4: Giants win 3-1

Bumgarner throws a complete game and Gillaspie is again the star, going 2 for 3 with a triple and 2 RBI.

Game 5: Giants lose 4-1

Yoenis Cespedes hits a 2-run homer against Bumgarner in the first inning, and the Giants never get anything going against Syndergaard. Syndergaard also homers against Bumgarner, who for some reason doesn't get pinch hit for in the seventh inning when he's already given up 4 runs. FIRE SIMULATED BRUCE BOCHY.

Game 6: Giants win 15-3

The Giants are actually losing for a little while in this one, with a 2-run Curtis Granderson homer opening up the scoring in the 4th inning. But the Giants scratch and claw for a run in the 5th, tie it up in the 6th, and then after Syndergaard gets pinch hit for in the bottom of the 6th, the Giants abuse Addison Reed like a middle schooler who just publicly wet his pants. They are not much kinder to Hansel Robles or Eric Goeddel. Naturally, being the Giants, they score their 15 runs with a lot of 2-for-4s and 2-for-5s and some doubles and no homers. This seems frighteningly plausible, in my opinion.

Bumgarner throws another complete game, by the way.

Game 7: Giants win 11-2

This one is close until the 8th inning, with Syndergaard and Reed turning in good performances. The teams head into the top of the 8th with the Giants leading 2-0, and then the offense erupts again. Brandon Crawford hits a 3-ruin homer in the 8th and Gillaspie hits a grand slam in the 9th to seal the game. Another complete game for Bumgarner. Maybe the simulator knows that you just can't trust this bullpen with a 9 run lead.

Game 8: Giants win 2-1

Bumgarner goes 8 innings and scores the winning run on a Denard Span double. Casilla gets another save. If Bruce Bochy is reading this, that probably means Casilla is good now and you should definitely put him in for the ninth inning. A computer said so!

Game 9: Giants win 5-3

The Mets take a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a couple of homers by Jose Reyes and Cespedes, and Simulated Giants Twitter has a meltdown. However, the Giants come back in the 6th, with a Conor Gillaspie double starting what turns out to be a 4-run inning that chases Syndergaard. The Giants get one more in the 7th, and the Giants bullpen shuts down the Mets again, because THAT'S DEFINITELY WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT.

Game 10: Giants win 4-2

Belt doubles, Crawford and Gillaspie triple, and Bumgarner throws another 8 good innings to lead the team to victory. He loads the bases with no one out in the 9th before getting pulled for Casilla, who retires all three batters he faces while only allowing one of his inherited runners to score, WHICH IS ALSO DEFINITELY WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT. The Giants win!

What did we learn? The system expects Madison Bumgarner to be very, very good, Conor Gillaspie to hit like an MVP, and Noah Syndergaard to go 6 innings and allow 2 runs. It has more confidence in the Giants' bullpen than anything else that exists on this Earth, even though the correct confidence level is approximately a house of cards made of Kleenex during an earthquake in a hurricane while Godzilla is rampaging next door.

The computers think the Giants will win. Thank you, computers. Long live the computers.