NEW YORK — All eyes will be on the Mets and Braves this weekend with the NL East title on the line.
But at the moment, eyes are fixated on Florida as Hurricane Ian bears down on the gulf coast. The potential Category 3 hurricane is expected to make landfall this week and its path is somewhat unclear, but it could bring heavy rain and wind to parts of Georgia over the weekend — Atlanta included.
MLB has been monitoring the situation and uses a weather service to be able to determine where and when to play during natural disasters. League officials discussed the situation Tuesday but a decision has not yet been made.
“I’m on double-secret probation,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ve talked, but [general manager Billy Eppler] does most of that. Billy is great at keeping me up to speed on what I need to know, what I don’t need to know and I’m perfectly confident that he’s got all of this wired.”
Showalter did acknowledge that the club has discussed pitching plans for various scenarios. The Mets have Chris Bassitt, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer currently lined up.
“We’re making sure that we position ourselves to go in as many directions as we can,” he said.
In recent years, the league has been proactive about moving weather-impacted series. In 2017, the Houston Astros were relocated to Tampa to play a series after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. The Mets were expected to play their series against the Astros at Tropicana Field as well, but the league allowed a return to Houston with recovery underway.
MLB could choose to do the same this time and move the series to a neutral site. The Miami Marlins, Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals are all out of town this weekend. Of course, so are the Philadelphia Phillies but moving a series so close to New York would create an unfair advantage. A neutral site is unfavorable enough for the Braves, who will likely pack their park in anticipation of a series with postseason implications.
Both teams are off on Thursday so the league could opt to move the start of the series up. The Mets are already expected to travel Wednesday night after their game against the Marlins. That would also mean the starting pitchers from the first game would be available on regular rest for the start of a wild-card series.
Or, they could play a doubleheader on Sunday if Saturday brings unsafe playing conditions. However, that would leave one pitcher unavailable to start a potential wild card game, plus it leaves open the possibility of a rainout Friday.
Does that leave a tripleheader on Sunday?
“I think I did play one somewhere,” Showalter joked before the Mets fell 6-4 to the Marlins at Citi Field on Tuesday night.
Look, there are only two options that are not on the table, and a tripleheader is obviously one of them. The other one is postponing the series to make up at a later date because in this case, there is no later date. The 2022 regular season comes to a close on Oct. 5, and the playoffs begin Oct. 7.
Though Ian has already changed paths a few times, a decision is expected soon. The teams will need to plan out rotations and make travel plans.
“When they tell us to play, we play. That’s what we do,” Showalter said. “If they say we’re playing three on Thursday, line them up.”©2022 New York Daily News. Visit at nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.