Madison Bumgarner has faced the Mets six times in his career. They’re 5-1 in those games. This means exactly nothing.
Bumgarner and the Giants faced the Mets twice this season, winning both games. They won both games. This means exactly nothing.
Bumgarner had one of those games in August, though, in which he caught way too much of the plate, giving up a grand slam against Justin Ruggiano. This means exactly nothing.
The current Mets roster has combined for 143 plate appearances against Bumgarner. They’re hitting a collective .226/.280/.301. They have two home runs against him, with one coming from Rene Rivera, who shouldn’t get an at-bat. (Edit: Apparently Rivera is Syndergaard's quasi-personal catcher. Gulp.) This means ... well, maybe something, but it’s not as predictive as you might think.
The Giants will win if Bumgarner has his best stuff and keeps the ball on the corner against right-handers, while handling lefties as well as he usually does. They’ll lose if he catches too much of the plate and loses his command within the strike zone, even for a single ill-timed at-bat. Nothing else will matter.
Still, it helps a little to look at how the Mets have done against Bumgarner, and how they do against left-handers in general, if only to make us feel better or worse. So we’ll do it.
How the Mets have hit Bumgarner
Players with more than 10 PA:
Jay Bruce, .130/.130/.261, one HR, 0 BB, 6 SO, 23 PA
Kelly Johnson, .350/.350/.350, 0 BB, 5 SO, 20 PA
James Loney, .154/.214/.231, 1 BB, 5 SO, 14 PA
Yoenis Cespedes, .300/.462/.400, 3 BB, 3 SO, 13 PA
Which is to say: There just isn't a lot of evidence either way. It’s unlikely that Johnson will start. Loney might by default. Bruce is what you would expect: a dude without much of a chance who swings hard enough to screw everything up. And it’s not like you needed these stats to be scared of Cespedes, regardless of who was pitching.
In the even-smaller-sample-size void, Jose Reyes is 3-for-9 against Bumgarner (all singles), and Asdrubal Cabrera is 3-for-7 (all singles). This also means nothing. But Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud are a combined 0-for-7, which probably means something.
How the Mets hit left-handed pitchers
Ah, now this is probably more important. Let’s look at career splits for the players who might be considered for the starting lineup, with the caveat that T.J. Rivera hasn’t played enough in the majors to give us good platoon splits. His minor-league record suggests that he’s either been neutral or had a reverse platoon split (he’s right-handed). Same goes with Matt Reynolds (not that one), except he’s been a little better against lefties in the minors.
|Player||Vs. LHP (career)||Vs. RHP (career)|
That’s two hitters who have done well enough against lefties, a guy who mashes them because he mashes everyone, and a series of disappointments. Considering the lefty-heavy outfield, Bumgarner is probably one of the least favorable pitchers for the Mets to face. While it's true that the Mets have a team hit better against left-handers, a lot of that had to do with Neil Walker (1.001 OPS vs. LHP) and Wilmer Flores (1.093), neither of whom will be available.
But it's the postseason. We didn't really have the splits for Travis Ishikawa against adorable little flamethrowers, but he still worked a walk against Craig Kimbrel. Aubrey Huff generally hit left-handers worse, but he still had the hit off Mike Dunn to tie that game.
And Jay Payton was worse against right-handers, but, ugh, that didn't stop him from hitting a stupid first-pitch single with two outs in the 10th inning.
Take this with piles of salt, then. You're reading this because of your thirst for postseason content, you insatiable rascal, and it's not completely inconsequential. The Mets don't appear to have a lineup built to decimate Bumgarner, no. But it won't matter. None of it matters. We're all doomed, unless we're about to be really excited to face the Cubs for some reason.
We've asked Madison Bumgarner to save us before, and we'll do it about a dozen more times, possibly in this postseason alone. He doesn't care about the splits, and neither should you. But here are some splits? Hope you're happy.