NEW YORK -- More than two dozen individuals scattered across the field in the third inning of the Blue Jays' 12-1 win over the Mets on Wednesday, none of them players. Buzzing around the infield dirt, members of Citi Field's grounds crew hauled rakes and bags of Diamond Dry, working
NEW YORK -- More than two dozen individuals scattered across the field in the third inning of the Blue Jays' 12-1 win over the Mets on Wednesday, none of them players. Buzzing around the infield dirt, members of Citi Field's grounds crew hauled rakes and bags of Diamond Dry, working frantically to eliminate the puddles that seemed to grow larger by the minute. Along each foul line stood security guards in bright yelow ponchos.
All the while, the tarp stayed rolled up along the left-field stands. Armed with drying agents and a relatively positive weather forecast, grounds crew members transformed the infield for 18 minutes as the heavy rain tapered back to a drizzle.
The question is whether they also transformed the course of the game. So successful before the delay, retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced, Mets starter Zack Wheeler was a different pitcher afterward. For him, the delay between innings was closer to a half hour, forcing him to throw pitches in an indoor batting cage to stay loose. Wheeler retired just three of the 12 batters he faced the rest of the way.
"To me, it seemed like the rain, trying to fix the field, affected our guy and it didn't theirs," said Mets manager Mickey Callaway. "It looked like he had found his rhythm and started cruising, and then a little bit of a delay there, and he just wasn't the same guy."
For most of Wednesday, the Mets and Blue Jays played through a steady drizzle. The rain picked up enough in the fourth to force umpires to call a halt to the game, but not for them to ask the grounds crew for the tarp. Instead, crew members dumped approximately 80 bags of Diamond Dry onto the field, according to SNY's broadcast, raking it back to a playable surface.
"I think in that instant, especially in the third inning, I threw that one pitch and I kind of slipped," said Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ, who did not allow a run before or after the delay. "So at that point, I'd rather just kind of get it right so that you feel [good] about where you land, you can feel planted a little bit rather than like you're slipping."
While there was continued rain in the forecast for most of Wednesday, the teams did not consider it heavy enough to call for a stoppage. From time to time, grounds crew members emerged between innings with additional bags of Diamond Dry, a flour-based material designed to absorb water from playing fields. The puddles mostly stayed away until the ninth, when umpires again briefly stopped play with two outs as Blue Jays manager John Gibbons stood nearby, giving them grief.
"I was out there messing with them, saying, 'Get those guys off there,'" Gibbons said. "We played through all this. I told them earlier in the game that I'm going to a Broadway play with my wife tonight."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.