NEW YORK — The start of the year's first series between two National League East Division rivals will have to wait at least a day.
The opener of what was to be a three-game set between the Atlanta Braves and the host New York Mets, originally scheduled for Friday night, was postponed with heavy rain in the forecast. The decision was made more than two hours before the first pitch with up to two inches of rain expected, and a makeup date will be announced later.
The scheduled starters for Friday — the Mets' Taijuan Walker (3-1, 2.05 ERA) and the Braves' Ian Anderson (4-1, 2.82 ERA) — were pushed back to Saturday. Rain is in the forecast throughout the weekend for a series with games set to be televised by Fox on Saturday night and ESPN on Sunday night.
The series is the first three visits by the Braves, the three-time reigning NL East champions, to the Mets, who currently sit atop the division standings at 24-20. Atlanta, which has yet to push its record beyond .500 this season, is 24-25, but that had the Braves tied for second with the Philadelphia Phillies going into Friday and just 2 1/2 games behind the Mets.
The Mets have played an MLB-low 44 games and are already are scheduled to play doubleheaders against the Washington Nationals and the Phillies in June as well as a single nine-inning makeup against the Nationals, who are also in the NL East.
Mets manager Luis Rojas said he believed the focus will be making up Friday's game during the July 26-29 series between the teams at Citi Field.
Rojas wasn't sure if the Mets would pitch David Peterson or Jacob deGrom on Sunday. Peterson was scheduled to start Saturday. DeGrom would go if Rojas decides to use the ace on his usual five days of rest.
Rojas also said first baseman Pete Alonso (right hand sprain) is progressing well. The manager said he initially thought Alonso, one of 17 Mets on the injured list, would need a rehab assignment. However, he added that the 2019 NL rookie of the year "looks a lot better than what I expected."
With Walker still officially on the injured list due to right side tightness, the Mets will have to make a roster move before Saturday's game.
On Friday, the Braves placed outfielder Marcell Ozuna on the injured list and recalled Johan Camargo from Triple-A Gwinnett. Ozuna is expected to miss six weeks after fracturing the middle and ring fingers on his left hand sliding into third base Tuesday night during a road win against the Boston Red Sox.
The postponement was the second in three days for the Mets, who swept a doubleheader from the Colorado Rockies on Thursday. The Braves got a second straight day off after completing a two-game series in Boston on Wednesday with a 9-5 loss. Atlanta was also off this past Monday.