The New York Mets will end the first half of the season the same way they spent most of it: scrambling to make up postponed games.
The Mets hope Mother Nature finally cooperates Friday, when New York is scheduled to host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the delayed opener of a four-game series.
The originally scheduled series opener Thursday was postponed about an hour before the slated first pitch due to heavy rains in the New York area. It will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader consisting of two seven-inning games Saturday.
The scheduled starters for Thursday — Mets right-hander Taijuan Walker (7-3, 2.44 ERA) and Pirates right-hander JT Brubaker (4-8, 4.09) — were each pushed back to Friday.
The doubleheader will be the second of the week and the 10th of the season for the Mets, who split a twin bill with the visiting Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. New York won the opener 4-3 in eight innings before falling 5-0 in the nightcap. That doubleheader was generated due to a rainout Tuesday, when first pitch was delayed almost three hours before the game was finally postponed.
The National League East-leading Mets have been playing from behind in the schedule since their season-opening series at Washington was postponed due to the Nationals’ COVID-19 outbreak. New York has played 83 games — the fewest in the majors even before Thursday’s rainout.
The Mets are 11-7 in doubleheader games — a higher winning percentage (.611) than their record in non-doubleheader games (34-31, .523). New York has yet to be swept in a twin bill.
“I praise the decision on the seven-inning doubleheaders,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said before Thursday’s game was postponed. “I think they work really well.”
The Pirates dealt with weather issues Wednesday, when they missed a chance to complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Atlanta Braves with a 14-3 loss. The game included a 78-minute rain delay in the seventh inning, after which the Braves scored seven runs in the eighth but none in the ninth off Pittsburgh rookie first baseman John Nogowski.
“Baseball is a pretty crazy game,” Nogowski said. “It keeps you on your toes.”
The doubleheader will be just the third of the season for the Pirates and their first since May 29, when they swept the Colorado Rockies. Pittsburgh split a twin bill with the Detroit Tigers on April 21.
Walker earned a win last Saturday, when he allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings as the Mets beat the New York Yankees 8-3.
He absorbed the defeat in his lone start against the Pirates on May 13, 2017. As a member of the Diamondbacks, he surrendered four runs (three earned) over six innings in Arizona’s 4-3 loss.
Brubaker took the loss in his most recent start, when he gave up five runs over six innings as the Pirates fell to the Brewers 7-2 on July 2. Brubaker has never faced the Mets.
–Field Level Media