The Mets and Braves remain scheduled for a series in Atlanta this weekend, with a contingency plan of sorts now in place.
Hurricane Ian hit Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and rain is forecast throughout the southeast region through the weekend. As a result, various scenarios were under discussion Wednesday for the three-game series, which is scheduled to begin Friday at Truist Park and should play a significant role in determining the NL East champion.
One possibility, according to sources, is moving the game Friday night to earlier in the day if it’s determined that provides a better window to complete nine innings.
Also under consideration: a split doubleheader on Sunday — the first two games of the series are considered most at-risk — and MLB could still hold next Thursday as a potential day for one or two or games if they are necessary to determine the NL East champion.
“There’s so many different scenarios and I haven’t played through all of them,” Francisco Lindor said before scoring the winning run in the Mets’ 5-4, 10-inning comeback win over the Marlins.
The Mets, according to a source, proposed a Thursday night series opener ahead of the hurricane’s expected arrival in Georgia, and were prepared to move their game Wednesday to 4 p.m. to accommodate travel to Atlanta. That proposal was rejected by the Braves and ultimately by MLB, which has final say on the matter.
The Braves, who trail the Mets by one game in the NL East race, anticipate three straight sellouts this weekend. Atlanta officials, according to a source, also believe that only the game Saturday falls into the at-risk category.
“It looks like we should be able to play,” Jacob deGrom said. “Go there as if we are playing and adjust from there. That is what you have got to do because if you check out and end up playing then you are going to be unprepared.”
A makeup game next Thursday in Atlanta would be far from ideal given that the wild-card round of the playoffs is set to begin the following day. It’s conceivable the Mets would have to play their regular-season finale at Citi Field on Wednesday, travel to Atlanta for a makeup game the following day and then return to New York to start the wild-card round on Friday.
The Braves would face easier logistics if they lost the division race in a makeup game Thursday as they would remain home to begin the wild-card round.
The Mets plan to start deGrom, Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt, in that order, over the weekend. Of concern is starting a game and then enduring a delay that would remove the starting pitcher early.
Twice during the Mets’ visit to Atlanta last month, games started and were then delayed by rain. Carlos Carrasco returned after an hour delay in one game and departed with an oblique strain.
DeGrom recalled starting a game in Atlanta a few years ago and returning after an in-game rain delay.
“There are plenty of places to throw there so it makes it a little bit easier to stay ready,” deGrom said. “It’s not ideal, but it’s something that is definitely a possibility and having done it before is something that has definitely made it easier.”
MLB officials have not considered moving the games to a neutral site. Lindor was asked if he could understand why the Braves would want to keep the games in Atlanta given the anticipated sellouts.
“They are still going to sell out,” Lindor said. “If they are concerned about tickets, they are going to sell out. It’s the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves, it’s going to sell out. Wherever you put the game, it’s going to sell out. You could put it in Japan and it’s going to sell out. We’re fighting for the division, if it doesn’t sell out, there is something wrong with the sport.”