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The Mets have played just five games in 12 days. It’s hardly a robust start to the season, and it’s fair to wonder how the stop-and-go nature of their schedule will impact how soon they can achieve something resembling a rhythm.
The Mets’ series opener against the Phillies on Monday was postponed due to inclement weather, the Mets announced about two hours before first pitch. Monday was the second Mets game in a row to be rained out. It was rescheduled as a single-admission doubleheader on Tuesday, with the first game starting at 4:10 p.m. The second game of the doubleheader will start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, but no earlier than 7:10 p.m.
“What can you do? We’ll get to play and we’re going to play a lot of games,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said.
Both games will be seven innings, and tickets to Monday’s game are not valid for Tuesday’s doubleheader. Fans who purchased tickets to Monday’s postponed game will receive credits which can be used toward future games.
Taijuan Walker, Tuesday’s original scheduled starter against the Phillies, will pitch Game 1 of the doubleheader. Marcus Stroman, who threw just nine pitches in Sunday’s suspended Mets-Marlins game, will pitch again in Game 2 of the doubleheader on Tuesday. David Peterson will go toe-to-toe against former Mets righty Zack Wheeler on Wednesday.
Rojas said, before Tuesday’s game was officially postponed, that Stroman would pitch Friday at Colorado on regular rest. That plan changed, the skipper said, after Stroman played catch on Monday at Citi Field and told Rojas he “felt good” to start Game 2 on Tuesday.
“It’s great to hear,” Rojas said. “I’m glad he’s stepping up for the team and doing this.”
Stroman voiced his displeasure in starting Sunday’s suspended game in a tweet and said it was “not smart at all.” He was concerned about the safety of his teammates and opposing players, saying: “[Francisco] Lindor was standing in a puddle. [Jesus] Aguilar couldn’t hold his bat.” Stroman also indicated in the tweet that he wouldn’t start again until Friday, before closing off with a rallying cry for the Mets.
Rojas said the Mets would be “sensitive” toward Stroman so as not to disrupt his routine between starts. Once the right-hander gave the Mets the green light that he was OK to pitch after what has been a disjointed and unnatural routine this week, Rojas announced Stroman would be Tuesday’s Game 2 starter.
Rotation plans changing is just one of the Mets’ challenges as they haven’t even completed a week’s worth of games. Opening Day and their opening series against the Nationals in Washington D.C. was postponed after several Nats’ players tested positive for COVID-19. Those games will be made up, in part, as split doubleheaders later this season. One make-up game against the Nationals will be squeezed into the Mets’ schedule on what was initially a mutual off-day.
The Amazin’s 2-3 record is a product of familiar trends — lack of run support for Jacob deGrom, bullpen meltdowns and a quiet offense — that will take time to reverse as the team attempts to find a consistent, everyday groove. But that early losing record is also a consequence of a so far bungled schedule that has largely been out of the Mets’ control. Perhaps that rhythm will begin on Tuesday.
“What we can do best in this type of situation where we’ve missed so many games is to prepare our best,” said Rojas, the only member of the Mets organization made available to reporters on Monday. “We are fresh. There’s good energy. It’s not like we’re going to go out there like crazy and waste it all in trying to prepare. But we’re going to look to simulate the best we can, game speed.
“We’re looking forward to playing games. That’s the best thing that can get the guys to the shape they want to be in and they’re going to be. … Once we start playing games, I know things are going to start to get better.”