The Mets and Giants met in the 2016 NL Wild Card Game with identical records (87-75), both vying for the opportunity to take on the Cubs -- the eventual champions -- in the NLDS. Naturally, both teams sent their respective aces from that season to the rubber; the Giants throwing Madison Bumgarner, a proven playoff commodity, and the Mets starting flame-throwing Noah Syndergaard.
What ensued was a battle of zeros: for each one Syndergaard put on the board, Bumgarner matched. Except the San Francisco southpaw was more efficient. After throwing 108 pitches through seven scoreless, Syndergaard was done. Bumgarner wasn't and delivered a shutout.
Mets fans know how the story ends. Here's a look at how both of those starters from that Wednesday night have fared in the 972 days since.
Stats since 2016 season: 260 IP, 44 starts, 266 strikeouts, 3.57 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 108 ERA+, 9.2 K/9
Syndergaard picked up right where he left off to start 2017. Through his first four starts of the campaign, he was 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA. But after an injury concern regarding biceps tendinitis, Syndergaard refused to have an MRI, prompting former GM Sandy Alderson's "I can't tie him downn and throw him in the tube" comments.
The right-hander suffered a torn lat in the second inning of his next start in Washington. He was on the shelf for five months and made two more appearances (three innings total). In 2018, Syndergaard made 25 starts and enjoyed a strong season that was slightly overshadowed by Jacob deGrom's Cy Young dominance. The 26-year-old posted a 3.03 ERA with a 2.80 FIP and fanned 155 batters in 154 1/3 innings.
This season hasn't been as successful for Syndergaard, who has a 4.90 ERA through 12 starts with a 3.63 FIP. His hits per nine innings (9.4) and homers per nine (1.2) are both career highs, and he's given up 10 homers -- more than he yielded all of last season -- in 75 1/3 frames.
Stats since 2016 season: 314 2/3 IP, 50 starts, 284 strikeouts, 3.46 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 118 ERA+, 8.1 K/9
Ten days before Syndergaard suffered his torn lat, Bumgarner endured a Grade 2 sprain of the AC joint in his throwing shoulder and bruised ribs in a dirt-bike accident in Colorado. The injuries cost himn three months and he returned July 15, pitching to a 3.43 ERA over 13 starts the rest of the season.
Last year, Bumgarner went 6-7 with a 3.26 ERA and saw his strikeouts dip to 109 over 129 2/3 innings (21 starts). Through 12 starts this season, he's allowed 10 homers in 74 innings and enters Tuesday's matchup with a 4.01 ERA.
Bumgarner and Syndergaard may not be at the top of their games like they were two Octobers ago. Perhaps they can bring out the best of one another again Tuesday night.