The projected path of Hurricane Ian seems to have changed enough to allow the Mets to get in at least part of their crucial three-game series in Atlanta beginning on Friday.
The Mets, who went into Wednesday tied with Atlanta for first place in the NL East with seven games to play, are scheduled to play three night games in Atlanta.
As of Wednesday afternoon, MLB was considering altering the schedule because – even though Ian had appeared to be moving away from a direct hit on Atlanta -- rain was still forecast to lash the area from Friday night to Sunday morning.
MLB was considering moving Friday’s game to the afternoon and left open the possibility of a split doubleheader on Sunday if Saturday’s game is rained out.
The backup to the backup plan is the Mets returning to Atlanta on Oct. 6 to play one or two makeup games if they are needed to settle the division.
The runnerup in the NL East is guaranteed to host a three-game wild card series beginning on Oct. 7. That means if one or two games is played on Oct. 6, the team that finishes second in the NL East will begin its first playoff series at home the next day while the division champion earns a bye into the Division Series.
MLB was not considering moving this weekend’s games to a neutral location or to Citi Field with Atlanta as the home team. Both teams are off on Thursday, but playing on Thursday was not being considered.
Both teams are scheduled to pitch their heavyweights this weekend. For the Mets, that’s (in order) Chris Bassitt, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. For Atlanta, it’s Max Fried, Kyle Wright and Charlie Morton.
Mets manager Buck Showalter, asked what he knew of the plans for Friday, said: “That’s up to Atlanta. We don’t have that much input into it at all. . . It’s not a home game.”
Showalter also said Mets general manager Billy Eppler was closely monitoring the situation.
One concrete move the Mets made was to add players to a taxi squad now that the Triple-A Syracuse season is over. Showalter pointed out that if an extra player is needed because of an injury or for a doubleheader, it might be difficult for the team to fly anyone in if the Atlanta airports are closed.
So infielders Dominic Smith and Deven Marrero and pitchers Alex Claudio and Stephen Nogosek are expected to accompany the team to Atlanta. Reliever Mychal Givens (who is still on the COVID-19 injured list) could join the team as well. Givens threw an inning for Syracuse on Wednesday in its season finale in a rehab assignment. The Mets did not announce that Givens had been cleared to return, but he wouldn’t have been allowed to pitch for Syracuse if he hadn’t been.
Minimal progress for Marte
Showalter said Starling Marte (partial fracture right middle finger) has his finger in his splint and is not doing any baseball activities.
“It’s not imminent that he’s a player,” Showalter said. “He’s doing everything except with his finger.”
Showalter said Marte, who has been out since getting by a pitch on Sept. 6, still cannot grip a bat or throw a ball.
“There’s nothing definitive at this point,” Showalter said. “Just waiting for the pain and discomfort and healing to all work out. I know it’s really frustrating for him . . . He wants to play. He just needs to get to the point where he can grip a ball and grip a bat. Not there yet.”