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Mets-Marlins a wash as Marcus Stroman rips decision to start game in the rain

Marcus Stroman threw nine pitches in the rain

Marcus Stroman threw nine pitches in the rain before the Mets' game against the Marlins Sunday was suspended until Aug. 31.  Credit: Jim McIsaac

Remember that classic "Peanuts" cartoon with Charlie Brown standing on a baseball field in a downpour and angrily wondering why no one else wanted to play a game that day?

"A LITTLE RAIN NEVER HURT ANYBODY!" he screams to the heavens.

That was the Mets on Sunday.

The Mets decided to try and play against the Marlins at Citi Field even though it was raining at the 1:10 p.m. start time and the forecast called for rain all day.

"Maybe right now, it’s a wrong decision," said manager Luis Rojas, who was the only Mets person to address the media after the game was suspended.

Play was halted three batters into the top of the first. The suspension was declared after a 2-hour, 10-minute rain delay — and after Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman ripped the decision to play on Twitter.

During the delay, Stroman posted: "This game should have never been started. Not smart at all. Those conditions put everyone at risk. Beyond happy no players on either side were injured. Hate that I have to wait another 5 days to pitch again. That’s a miserable feeling. However [Let’s Go Mets] each and every day!"

The decision to start the game led to an embarrassing scene in which Stroman was walking around the mound, tossing aside wet baseball after wet baseball and basically declining to pitch as the field quickly became water-logged.

Stroman ended up throwing a total of nine pitches before crew chief Ron Kulpa — the same umpire who admitted he incorrectly awarded Michael Conforto a game-ending hit by pitch in Thursday’s home opener — halted play.

Sunday’s game will be resumed in the top of the first with a runner on first, one out and a 2-and-0 count on No. 3 batter Jesus Aguilar as part of a day-night doubleheader at Citi Field on Aug. 31.

Rojas said that the Mets’ front office, field staff and ballpark operations people met before the game and spoke to "an exclusive forecast expert" to decide whether to start the game (once the first pitch is thrown, decisions on rain-related matters go from the home team to the umpires).

"Knowing that at that point that the forecast was telling us we were going to get lighter rain to mist-like type rain and we could get the game in starting on time, it was where the decision led to, ‘Go for it,’" Rojas said.

The decision led to the Mets wasting an outing by their No. 2 starter, which became clear once Stroman tweeted about not pitching again for five days. If the game had resumed, the Mets would have needed to get 26 outs from their bullpen.

The Marlins were starting an opener, so they were already planning a full bullpen game.

Rojas was asked if Stroman might be able to come back sooner than his next scheduled outing on Friday. The Mets don’t have a starter penciled in for Wednesday’s game against the Phillies.

"We don’t know that," Rojas said. "We burned him today. You never want to do that to ‘Stro . . . We’ll see in the next few days how he responds."

Finally, why was the game suspended and not postponed? Why do Corey Dickerson’s leadoff single and Starling Marte’s fly ball to rightfield count? It’s because of a rule instituted in 2020 as part of MLB’s COVID-19 protocols — once a game is started, if it’s not an official game it is continued at a later date. Before 2020, a game like Sunday’s would have been postponed and started from scratch.

Aug. 31 is the next time the Marlins visit Citi Field. The suspended game will begin at 1:10 p.m. and will be a nine-inning game. The regularly scheduled game will begin at 7:10 and will be a seven-inning game.

Tickets for Sunday’s suspended game will not be honored for either of the Aug. 31 games, according to the Mets, who said that ticket-buyers will receive a credit for their tickets and parking passes, if applicable.

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