NEW YORK -- When the San Francisco Giants got the slimmest of leads in the race for the National Leagues final wild-card spot about 10 days ago, it turned out to be a season-ending mistake by the team they were jostling with, the St. Louis Cardinals. It may also have unleashed something devastating on every other team still competing for a World Series ring.Its October and its an even year.The Giants got a little momentum going and weve seen them do that plenty of times, Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter said.The San Francisco Giants are at it again, trying to add a 2016 title to a 2014 title, a 2012 title and a 2010 title. Is there a pattern here? The latest wrinkle isnt even a new wrinkle. Once again, the Giants have to survive a winner-takes-all wild-card game, on the road, to get to their goal. Two Octobers ago, they went into an absolutely rollicking PNC Park in Pittsburgh and, behind Madison Bumgarners complete-game shutout, beat the Pirates 8-0.I remember just walking in from the bullpen in Pittsburgh and thinking and taking a second to look around, because even 10-15 minutes before the game, it was rocking, Buster Posey said. I expect it to be the same here tomorrow.New York Mets fans might want to consider trying something new to get Bumgarner a little rattled Wednesday in an 8 p.m. ET National League wild-card game on ESPN: eerie silence. Making a lot of noise and yelling nasty things at him doesnt seem to work. Bumgarner has a 0.60 ERA in postseason road games, the best mark of its kind in baseball history.Its not like hes bad at AT&T Park. Bumgarner is 7-3 with one save and a 2.14 ERA in 14 postseason games. Its almost as if October baseball games are his native habitat. He has been pitching in the World Series since a couple of months after he turned 21.I think, like a lot of great athletes and pitchers, he is just really good in the moment, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Theyre such good competitors. They dont let the game itself, the magnitude of the game, bother them.In the four years of the one-game wild-card format, the team that starts the more-experienced starting pitcher has won seven of the eight games. The lone exception was the Giants in 2014, when Bumgarner, in his fourth full season, easily out-pitched veteran Edinson Volquez. If the Mets are to buck that trend, theyll at least have Noah Syndergaards 2015 October experience in their corner. He made four postseason starts and had a 3.32 ERA, including a strong outing in Game 3 of the World Series.Mets manager Terry Collins was asked Tuesday what can be done to slow down the Bumgarner Express in October. The only thing he could grab onto was using Bumgarners aggressiveness against him, where thats possible.Like all great pitchers, he throws strikes, Collins said. So, the one thing youve got to go up with is a little bit of a plan. Try to get something you can handle and dont miss it. Dont foul it off. Put it in play.For much of August and September, the Giants seemed to be playing themselves out of postseason contention. But that doesnt just seem possible when the year in question is divisible by two. The Giants rallied late, winning six of their last eight games, including their last four, to keep the Cardinals at bay. Needless to say, the Giants dont have much to say about the even-year phenomenon.Doesnt matter what number they call the year, Hunter Pence said. Its right now and its a game between the Giants and Mets, playing what we love to do, playing for what we dream about.Whats to be made of the even-year pattern? A lot of theories have been floated for the Giants every-other-year dynasty. The most reasonable is that the extra innings burden on the pitchers tends to lead to a hangover effect the following season. In 2014, for example, the Giants piled 52? postseason innings on top of the 217? Bumgarner had already pitched in the regular season. Even that one is easily sliced and diced, though. Bumgarners 2015 season was almost identical to his 2014 season. He pitched just one more inning, in fact. He said he wishes he had an explanation for the teams back-and-forth fortunes.There is no sense in having to take a year off after youve had that long season, he drawled.Other than being able to throw one of the best pitchers in the game and one of the most ferocious competitors in sports at the other team, the Giants also present a few other matchup problems in October. They dont beat themselves, which sometimes feels like half the battle in loud, chaotic environments.The Giants are one of the best-fielding teams in baseball. Their 70 defensive runs saved (DRS) ranked third in baseball and their infielders ranked even higher. They dont strike out much. They had the second-best strikeout rate in the majors. Six of the past 10 teams to reach the World Series finished in the top five of the majors in strikeout rate.Its as if this team were designed by scientists somewhere to excel in the most pressure-packed games. Now it has been set loose on the world. Nike NBA Jerseys Authentic Cheap . After the whistle, Thornton skated the length of the ice, pulled Orpik to the ice from behind and punched him in the face several times. NBA Jerseys China . 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SEATTLE -- Washington defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski chose his words carefully, making sure he didnt recite the famous Zen saying verbatim.I cant say it, he said, but stuff happens, right? You cant win every freak ... Im trying to bite my tongue here.Say no more, coach. Stuff happened Saturday night at Husky Stadium, as an inspired and talent-stocked No. 20 USC team outclassed No. 4 Washington 26-13, handing the Huskies their first loss of the season.USCs Sam Darnold, not Washingtons Jake Browning, was the best quarterback on the field. USCs Adoree Jackson, not Washingtons Sidney Jones or Budda Baker, was the best defensive back. USC linebacker Porter Gustin was the most disruptive pass-rusher, not Washingtons Elijah Qualls or Vita Vea. The Trojans looked like the better team, plain and simple.But stuff happened Saturday night in Iowa City, too. And stuff happened earlier Saturday in Clemson, South Carolina. Of the three losses by top-four teams during a wild Week 11, Washingtons surely will look the best to the playoff selection committee. USC doesnt resemble the team that started 1-3 and will be favored to win out and finish in the top 15, if not the top 10.If Washington had to lose a game the rest of the way, this was it. The Huskies still control their own fate in the Pac-12 North. And they always were going to need to win the Pac-12 title to have a chance at the playoff.So even as USC wide receiver Deontay Burnett stood on the Trojans bench and mocked Washington fans with the Jim Mora (not the UCLA coach) line, Playoffs? Playoffs? -- which other Trojans later jumped in on via Twitter -- the Huskies can still reach the field of four.We dont even really talk about a winning streak, Washington coach Chris Petersen said. Well try to start a new one next week, try to be 1-0. Thats the win streak that we need to pay attention to.Thats the good news. The bad news is Washington failed its first test against an opponent with elite talent, the type of opponent it could see if it reaches the playoff. The loss feeds the argument that Washington is very good but not truly elite, a product of a schedule lacking much meat outside of Utah.Pac-12 coaches sensed it last week, describing Washington as an almost flawless team, but one that could struggle with USCs superior individual pieces.I guarantee theyve got a shot, a Pac-12 head coach said of the Trojans. Theyre so talented.The talent rose at a raucous Husky Stadium. Darnold flummoxed Washingtons defense, which continued to struggle generating pressure without Joe Mathis, and USC converted 7-of-13 third-down opportunities. The redshirt freshman moved nimbly in the pocket, jump-passed to move the chains and spread the ball to eight different players. Kwiatkowski admitted Darnolds mobility forced Washingtons defenders to play more tentatively than usual.We could not get off the field in the first half like we wanted to, Kwiatkowski said.Washingtons more surprising difficulties came on offense, as it entered the game ranked second nationally in scoring (48.3 points per game) and boassted the nations most efficient passer in Browning (202.dddddddddddd8 rating), one of the nations most explosive receivers in John Ross (14 touchdowns) and two effective running backs in Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman. USCs defenses reputation? Kind of ordinary, especially in the front seven.But USC shut down the run from the onset and then began harassing Browning, who completed less than half of his pass attempts (17-of-36) and threw two interceptions, both to Jackson. It was his first multiple-interception performance since Nov. 14, 2015, against Arizona State. Before Saturday, Washington had committed one or zero turnovers in 12 straight games, the longest streak in the FBS.Washington had five drives end in USC territory and came away with only one touchdown.We arent going to beat anybody if we score 13 points, Browning said.Browning, whose Heisman hopes took a major hit Saturday, added that Washington goes back to square one after the loss. Players and coaches didnt think the team was swept up in playoff talk or overwhelmed by the moment and the opponent. USC simply played and coached better.Stuff happened.I dont even really know what the one through four rankings mean when theres four weeks left in the season, Browning said. Obviously not a lot because everybody gets in there and loses. Weve got to get ready for ASU. If were playing just to play in the College Football Playoff or whatever, then youre sadly mistaken. Things like this will happen if youre looking forward.I dont think we were looking forward. I thought we had the right mindset. Weve got to execute better.Petersen also had no issues with his teams focus. But he admitted that USC presented a jump in talent, and on this day, Washington couldnt match the Trojans.I dont think it was an outstanding game by any phase of our team, Petersen said. Part of thats a credit to those guys, to USC, it is. They played good. They played hard and whooped us pretty good.The best news for Petersen on Saturday came as he was exiting his news conference, as a reporter mentioned No. 3 Michigans stunning loss to unranked Iowa. If Washington wins out to finish as a 12-1 Pac-12 champion, it should have a better-than-decent chance to make the playoff. The Huskies will have wins over No. 15 Utah, No. 23 Washington State and possibly No. 12 Colorado (if they beat the Buffs in the Pac-12 title game).Even a rematch win against USC in the league title game could serve Washington well in the eyes of the committee.Im not worried that our guys are going to sit there and feel sorry for themselves for a long time, Petersen said. This hurts them, theres no question. ... I just think its hard when you lose and you put so much into it, but well regroup. Well be back.These kids are going to be resilient, and well reload and see what weve got.Stuff happened Saturday at Husky Stadium. But the stuff that happens in the coming weeks will determine what Washington is all about. 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