NEW YORK -- A disjointed early season continued for the Mets on Monday, when they postponed their series opener against the Phillies due to rain. The teams will play a single-admission doubleheader beginning at 4:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, which will include Marcus Stroman’s return to action.
It has been a disappointing slog for the Mets, who have played as many games (five) as they have had postponed.
“You want to say that the guys are going to be ready … and I know they’re going to be ready,” manager Luis Rojas said.
A second consecutive day of rain forced the Mets to acknowledge hours before game time that their chances of playing on Monday night were slim. The club attempted to start Sunday’s game at Citi Field against the Marlins but abandoned those plans after seven minutes once rain in the area worsened. That game will resume on Aug. 31.
The Mets won’t have to wait nearly as long to face the Phillies, who are in town for a four-game set. The teams will play a doubleheader on Tuesday, followed by their regularly scheduled games on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.
Tickets for Monday’s game will not be valid for Tuesday’s doubleheader. Fans holding such tickets will receive credit into their “My Mets Tickets” account, which they can use toward the purchase of a future 2021 or April '22 home game. Fans with tickets for Tuesday’s originally scheduled game can attend both halves of the doubleheader, with Game 2 starting approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1 (but no earlier than 7:10 p.m. ET).
It’s hardly the situation the Mets anticipated when they returned home following a fragmented first road trip of the season, which included three games postponed in Washington after several Nationals players contracted COVID-19. The Mets expected to play four games at home against the Marlins and Phillies, but rain has twice affected that schedule.
The first instance occurred on Sunday, when Stroman threw nine pitches before the proceedings were halted. Afterward, Stroman told Rojas he wanted to stay on his regular five-day schedule, meaning he would not return to the mound until Friday. But after playing catch on Monday at Citi Field, Stroman changed his tune, prompting the club to slot him back in.
“We want the guys to be out there being the best version of themselves,” Rojas said. “So for him to come and talk to us about feeling good and going out there and pitching in a doubleheader scenario like we’re having now, I think is great to hear. I’m glad he’s stepping up for the team and doing this.”
The Mets’ full rotation against the Phillies is as follows:
Peterson, who was originally scheduled to start on Monday, instead played catch amidst a steady rain at Citi Field. In that manner and others, players have tried to make the best of the situation, using clubhouse resources to stay as ready as possible. For hitters, those include indoor batting cages, virtual reality sets, curveball machines, high-velocity machines and more.
“The biggest thing is to simulate game speed,” Rojas said. “We can keep everyone ready. We can have a script of things, so we keep everyone active in every area. But to simulate game speed when everyone else is playing, that’s our challenge.”
Rojas believes the disjointed schedule may have played a role in the Mets’ sluggish start, which has included three losses in their first five games. They will return to action against a Phillies team that leads the National League East with a 6-3 record, having played nearly twice as many games.
One small benefit is that each postponed game brings the Mets closer to the returns of injured pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Carrasco and Seth Lugo, all of whom continue to work out at the team’s rehab facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Even so, the lack of consistency is not ideal for a club looking to reel off an early winning streak.
“But what can you do?” Rojas said. “We’ll get to play, and we’re going to play a lot of games.”