Mets will try to solve Bumgarner in WC Game

Mets will try to solve Bumgarner in WC Game

NEW YORK -- There is never reason to feel overconfident or comfortable entering any postseason matchup against Madison Bumgarner. Over the past few years, the Mets have repeatedly been reminded that October is not the only month when the Giants' ace shines.

Bumgarner will attempt to extend his dominance against the Mets and push the Giants a step closer to the World Series when he opposes Noah Syndergaard in the National League Wild Card Game on Wednesday at Citi Field (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).

"There will obviously be a lot more excitement and adrenaline running through the veins, but you just have to do your best to channel that in a positive light and just use it to your advantage," Mets veteran outfielder Jay Bruce said. "You don't let it get away from you, and just have a blast."

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In other words, gladly welcome the challenge of a winner-advances matchup against Bumgarner, who has produced a 2.14 ERA over 88 1/3 career postseason innings. The Giants have won nine of his 12 postseason starts.

Bumgarner has been equally as impressive against the Mets, posting a 1.80 ERA in six regular-season starts. This equates to eight earned runs over 40 innings. Half of that run total came courtesy of a Justin Ruggiano grand slam on Aug. 18 in San Francisco.

Ruggiano's 4th-inning grand slam

Before Ruggiano's slam, Bumgarner was working on a streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings against the Mets. He will enter Wednesday's game looking to extend a stretch of 18 straight scoreless frames at Citi Field. Bumgarner has allowed a total of two earned runs over 29 innings at the Mets' home park. A Daniel Murphy RBI single on Sept. 19, 2013, accounts for the last run against San Francisco's southpaw in New York.

"He's extremely aggressive," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's extremely competitive. He doesn't pitch around anybody. He goes after everybody he ever faces, and therefore, you better be ready, because you're going to get something to hit, and you better do some damage with it."

Collins on Mets facing Bumgarner

Bumgarner tossed six scoreless innings at Citi Field on May 1 before allowing four earned runs (courtesy of Ruggiano's grand slam) over six frames on Aug. 18 at AT&T Park. In other words, he has encountered just one poor inning against New York this season.

"Everybody knows exactly what to expect from him," Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson said, "but you can't give away an at-bat, and you try to not miss the ones he does give you, the few opportunities that he does."

With David Wright, Wilmer Flores, Neil Walker and Ruggiano all sidelined, the Mets' left-handed-heavy lineup becomes even more susceptible to Bumgarner, who has limited lefties to a .178 batting average and a .218 on-base percentage this season.

The Mets with the most experience against Bumgarner are all left-handed hitters -- Bruce (3-for-21 with a homer and six strikeouts), Kelly Johnson (7-for-20 with five strikeouts) and James Loney (2-for-13 with a double and five strikeouts). Yoenis Cespedes has gone 3-for-10 with a double against Bumgarner, while Asdrubal Cabrera, one of the hottest hitters in the Majors down the stretch, is 3-for-7 against the southpaw.

The Mets will hope for some more magic from T.J. Rivera, the 27-year-old rookie second baseman who recorded a pair of hits when facing Bumgarner for the first time in August.

"He's been slammed into these situations, and he's handled them great," Collins said of Rivera. "He's meant a lot to us. He's had big hits for us, and tomorrow night we're going to need him to step up, because in the middle of that lineup, we've got some left-handed hitters. He's the one guy in the middle of that lineup that hopefully can do some damage."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.