ATLANTA -- There were some tired eyes in Atlanta's clubhouse on Tuesday morning. Even before Freddie Freeman ended Monday night's 2-1 win over the Mets with a walk-off home run at 1:22 a.m. ET, the Braves were already bracing themselves for a quick night's sleep before Tuesday's day-night doubleheader.
Braves players did not get a response when they called the Major League Baseball Players Association around 9 p.m. during Monday's long rain delay to ask about having to start a game less than 15 hours before the beginning of Tuesday's scheduled twin bill.
"Playing late did not concern us," Atlanta third baseman Chris Johnson said on Tuesday morning. "It was the fact that we are going to play two on six hours of sleep at the most."
The Braves offered to put their players up for the night at the Ritz-Carlton downtown after Monday night's game. Manager Fredi Gonzalez slept on a cot in his office at Turner Field.
This week's series was already going to be a logistical strain for both teams before the weather set in. In order to make up a May 4 rainout, the teams were slated to play a five-game series in four days, including Tuesday's doubleheader. As Monday night went on, the players were originally told play would begin at 7:30 and then again at 10:05, but the decision was made to roll the tarp back onto the field as the rain persisted.
After a rain delay of three hours and 43 minutes, things finally got going at 10:53 p.m., when Braves starter Tim Hudson threw an 89-mph fastball to Mets outfielder Juan Lagares.
"I was shocked that we were starting at 10 o'clock to start with, because I was under the impression that it was going to be around 10:30 or 10:40 before we started the game," Hudson said after Monday's game. "I heard the 10:05 start, so I went out there and got ready. In the NFL, we would have had a flag for 10 yards, false start. But instead I just sat on my thumbs in the dugout for 40 minutes. It is what it is."
Within the initial rain delay, the skies cleared for the span of roughly an hour, allowing the crew enough time to remove the tarp and line the infield before recovering the field as the rain began to fall steadily once again. Players had warmed up in the outfield for the projected 10:05 start time when the decision was made to keep the tarp on the field until the rain subsided.
"They were looking at the radar the whole time, and they felt like we could get it in and start at a reasonable time," Gonzalez said. "I think if it wasn't for the doubleheader tomorrow, I don't think starting at 10:45 would be that big of a deal, but everything was in consideration to start that game at that time."
A rainout on Monday night would not only have set up the potential for another Braves-Mets doubleheader at some point down the road, it would also have posed problems for the management of both pitching staffs. With more rain in the forecast for parts of Tuesday, both teams may not be in the clear yet.