Mets, Braves talking options as Hurricane Ian looms

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Buck Showalter reached back into his baseball memory bank and wondered — jokingly — about a possible tripleheader in Atlanta on Thursday. 

“I think I did play one [tripleheader] somewhere,” the Mets manager said before his club suffered a 6-4 loss to the Marlins on Tuesday at Citi Field. 

No, the Mets and Braves will not be squeezing three games into one day, but just about everything else appears to be on the table. 

There were conversations involving the Mets, Braves and Major League Baseball on Tuesday, one day before Hurricane Ian was set to hit Florida and three days before the heavy rain and winds have been projected to strike Georgia. 

The Mets and Braves are preparing for the most important series of the season — and perhaps in all of baseball — which is scheduled to start Friday, just as the hurricane is expected to wreak havoc in Atlanta. Rain from the currently Category 3 hurricane is expected to continue throughout the weekend. Gov. Brian Kemp has issued a state of emergency for all Georgia counties. 

Major League Baseball could shift one or even two of the series’ games to Thursday, which is a mutual off day. The Mets are scheduled to fly to Atlanta after their game Wednesday night, while the Braves play Wednesday night in Washington. If they decided to play two Thursday in Atlanta, they could hope the weather clears in time for their series finale Sunday night. 

Buck Showalter #11 of the New York Mets reacts in the dugout
Buck Showalter and the Mets are in a bind as Hurricane Ian threatens their series with the rival Braves.
Paul J. Bereswill

A source told The Post’s Mike Puma the Braves believe the only “iffy” game day for this weekend will be Saturday. If that game is rained out, they could then play a split doubleheader Sunday. 

The baked-in trouble with counting on games this weekend would be the challenge to make them up during a campaign that has been condensed because of the lockout. The MLB season finishes Oct. 5, and the NL wild-card series is set to begin Oct. 7. 

The Braves and Mets could agree to move the series to a neutral location — teams such as the Royals, Reds, Rangers and Marlins (who will host the Braves in their final series of the season) will be on the road — but it is difficult to imagine the Braves happily giving up home-field advantage and the sizable ticket sales. 

A source said in the past few days of discussion there has been “nothing on specific relocation sites,” at least so far. Any changes to the dates or the location likely would have to be determined no later than Wednesday, allowing the league as much time as possible to let the hurricane run its course. 

Showalter, who declined to reveal much about the talks because he swore to “double secret probation,” repeatedly said he and the club were focused on the Marlins, not the status of the series with the Braves. He did acknowledge the Mets have had to plan for the unknown. 

The Mets were “making sure that we position ourselves to go in as many directions as we can,” with their rotation, Showalter said. 

The Mets have lined up Chris Bassitt, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer for the three games against the Braves. Because of the day off this past Monday, Bassitt would still have an extra day of rest if he pitched Thursday rather than Friday. DeGrom would be on normal rest if he is needed Thursday. 

The Braves, who pushed back Max Fried and lined him up for the Mets, could have their rested ace plus Kyle Wright, who last pitched Saturday, available if the series is moved up. 

“At some point you need to tell pitchers as far as work days,” said Showalter, who added general manager Billy Eppler was leading the talks for the Mets. 

Both teams also have to plan for their rotations past the enormous weekend series and ahead of the postseason. Whoever pitches Friday (or Thursday) would be in play for Game 162. 

“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.”

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