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  • 29 Jul
    NEW YORK -- Baseballs regular season is a novel, one that was full of melodramatic twists and turns this season for the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants. When the Mets host the Giants in the National League wild card game Wednesday night at Citi Field, the novel becomes a Choose Your Own Adventure, with the season hanging on every turn of the page.Tomorrows different -- I have not been in a one-game win-all scenario before, said Mets manager Terry Collins, who began his managerial career in 1981. Well have 25 guys out there, and if we need to, well use all 25 to win that game.The wild card game is familiar to the Giants, whose lineup Wednesday will likely feature six players -- including starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner -- who started the 2014 NL wild card game. Bumgarner threw a four-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates that jump-started San Franciscos run to a third World Series title in five years.Youre just jumping right into it -- this huge, emotional, intense, all-in, all-or-nothing game, Giants outfielder Hunter Pence said. Its definitely a wild ride. Thats why they call it the wild card.Bumgarner will oppose New Yorks ace, right-hander Noah Syndergaard, as the Giants and Mets battle for the opportunity to face the top-seeded Chicago Cubs in the NL Division Series.Both the Mets and Giants finished 87-75 -- the Mets earned home-field advantage by winning the season series 4-3 -- but they reached the finish line in decidedly different fashions.With most of their rotation and nearly all of their Opening Day lineup ravaged by injury, the reigning NL champion Mets were 5 1/2 games behind in the race for the NLs second wild card on Aug. 19 and 61-62 after beating the Giants in San Francisco the next day. It was the latest a wild card team has been under .500 since the 2005 Astros were also 61-62 after 123 games.But the Mets had the best record in baseball (26-13) the rest of the way to reach the playoffs for a second straight season for only the second time in franchise history.Rookie pitchers Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo went 9-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) during the Mets season-ending run, which happened with six Opening Day starters either already sidelined for the season or playing part-time roles due to injury or ineffectiveness.Collins spoke throughout the season about how important it was for his team not to ride the daily rollercoaster. But did the season ever feel as chaotic from the inside as it looked from outside?In the managers room it did, Collins said with a grin. We tried not to let it spread to the clubhouse too bad. But theres so much maneuvering that we had to do.We know that certainly the planes from (the Mets Triple-A affiliate) Vegas to here were (used) a lot. Theres a lot of red-eyes that were used. But it all comes with the territory.The Giants, meanwhile, led the NL West by as many as eight games on June 26 and reached the All-Star Break with the best record in baseball at 57-33. But they went just 30-42 the rest of the way -- the worst post-All-Star Break record for a playoff team since the wild card was implemented in 1995 -- and fell out of first place for good with a 2-0 loss to the Mets on Aug. 21.As good as we were in the first half, we had our hiccups the second half, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.The bullpen, long a strength for the Giants, blew nine ninth-inning leads, including five in September. San Francisco finally steadied itself over the final week, when it went 5-1 to stave off the St. Louis Cardinals by a game.To be honest, I think we all were trying to figure out whats going on here, Bochy said. But thats what you have to deal with during the baseball season.Now the Giants hope to enjoy some familiar success with a pitcher who deals with the postseason better than anyone in Bumgarner, who is 7-3 with a 2.14 ERA in 14 playoff games (12 starts). He posted a 1.03 ERA in seven games (six starts) in the 2014 postseason, which ended with Bumgarner throwing five shutout innings to earn the save in Game 7 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals.In addition, Bumgarner is 4-0 with a 0.62 ERA in four career starts at Citi Field.Hes got this special -- this it factor and this incredible competitiveness thats just so beautiful to watch and to be a part of and to play behind, Pence said.The Mets will counter with Syndergaard, who proved ready for the big stage last fall by coming out of the bullpen to pitch a scoreless seventh inning in the decisive Game 5 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers before winning Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs and Game 3 of the World Series against the Royals.While Bumgarner dominates at Citi Field. Syndergaard -- who made his final regular season start last Tuesday -- has thrived when pitching on extra rest: He has a 2.51 ERA in 16 career starts made on more than five days rest.These two guys going (Wednesday), I would think, sitting here today, theyre going to get pretty deep into a game -- theyre both pretty good, Collins said. Certainly, deep in the game, well make whatever move we think is essential. Wholesale Retro Jordans China .S District Court against Major League Baseball, the Office of the Commissioner and his own union, the MLBPA. Wholesale Cheap Jordans From China . One game after a miserable showing in Oklahoma City, Gay tied a career high with 41 points and the Sacramento Kings cruised to a 114-97 victory at the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. . Tevez, who has had conflicts with coaches in the past, has not been called up since Sabella was named coach in 2011. Argentina boasts Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Angel Di Maria. Wholesale Retro Jordans Cheap . -- Quarterback Will Finch threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns, and Yannick Harou rushed in two scores as the No. Cheap Jordan China Wholesale . The recently retired Stern was elected Friday to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and will be enshrined with the class of 2014 on Aug. EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Since the start of the 2010 season, Michigan State is 56-10 with Kirk Cousins or Connor Cook starting at quarterback -- and 9-6 with anybody else.Cook was the most recent star throwing passes for the Spartans, and now theyll have to prove they can excel without him.Michigan State took another big step forward as a program last year, winning the Big Ten and playing in college footballs four-team playoff. Coach Mark Dantonios team has now won the conference twice in the past three seasons, and the Spartans have made it clear they shouldnt be taken lightly even when they have to deal with significant personnel losses.Quarterback, though, is no ordinary position.Weve got to put our team in good positions and avoid the very bad situations, said Tyler OConnor, the fifth-year senior who appears to be the heir apparent to Cook. Things are never going to be perfect -- thats kind of something thats very well-known at the quarterback position -- so as long as we avoid those very bad plays and plays that could beat us, I think well be OK. But at the same time, were going to be asked to make plays that will win the game as well.OConnor and Damion Terry were listed together atop the preseason depth chart, but OConnor seems to have the inside track to start. Hes only started one game in his Michigan State career, but it was an important one -- he and Terry both played last year when the Spartans won at Ohio State with Cook injured.Dantonio is entering his 10th season at the helm at Michigan State, and the Spartans have won at least 11 games in five of the last six. The one comparativee down year (2012) came after Cousins left and before Cook established himself.ddddddddddddThat season now seems like an aberration, but 2016 should be an interesting test.I think you need to be consistent, Dantonio said. What we want to do is win a championship, then the next thing we want to do is prove ourselves to be consistent winners. I think were doing that.KEY GAMESMichigan State pulled off a memorable sweep of Michigan and Ohio State last year, beating both on the road on the final play of the game. The Spartans get the Wolverines (Oct. 29) and Buckeyes (Nov. 19) at home this season. Michigan State also plays at Notre Dame on Sept. 17.RUNNING GAMEMichigan State returns three players who ran for at least 500 yards last season, but the bigger question may be how much blocking theyll get. The offensive line lost three starters, including standouts Jack Conklin and Jack Allen.DEFENSIVE STARThe defensive line lost Shilique Calhoun, Joel Heath and Lawrence Thomas. That leaves Malik McDowell as the top remaining candidate to cause havoc up front. He had 4 1/2 sacks last season.SEASON OPENERThe Spartans will be heavy favorites at home Sept. 2 against Furman.PREDICTIONMichigan State has a chance to repeat atop the Big Ten, if for no other reason than the fact that its two toughest league games are at home. But because of the uncertainty at quarterback, pencil the Spartans in a step behind Ohio State and Michigan.---Follow Noah Trister at ' ' '