There's a very real chance that the winner of the National League East will be decided during a three-game series between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves this weekend at Truist Park.
That is, if the games are actually played.
With Hurricane Ian currently hitting Florida, there's a chance that some games in Atlanta could be jeopardized this weekend. Saturday's 7:20 p.m. ET start time, specifically, appears as if it could be affected by what's likely to be a tropical storm by the time it reaches Georgia. The weather is on track to improve for Sunday, but even one postponed game could throw a wrench into the final days of the regular season, and potentially force some playoff series to be delayed.
To that end, Mike Puma of The New York Post says that the the Mets were willing to move this evening's game against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field to 4 p.m. ET, fly to Atlanta and play the first game of their series against the Braves on what's scheduled to be an off day for both teams Thursday.
Evidently, the Braves, wrapping up a series in D.C. this evening, decided to pass on the offer in favor of an off day Thursday.
In fairness to the Braves, they haven't had an off day since Sept. 15. Meanwhile, the Mets were off on both Sept. 22 and Sept. 26. From a competitive standpoint, the Braves would probably be at a disadvantage if the two teams played Thursday.
Then again, if the two teams played Thursday, it would mean they would eventually end up being off either on Friday or Saturday. Now, the possibility exists that they'll have to play a doubleheader on Sunday if Saturday's game is rained out, assuming the weather would allow that.
You would be hard pressed to find a manager that would like to see the season decided by a doubleheader. At best, your team will leave the series with the NL East lead and an exhausted pitching staff, with three games still left in the regular season. At worst, your team will leave the series in second place in the NL East with an exhausted pitching staff, three games still left in the regular season and a Wild Card series likely looming shortly thereafter.
Entering play Wednesday, both the Mets and Braves are 97-58, having clinched postseason berths. However, the winner of the NL East will almost certainly have a first-round postseason bye. The second place finisher in the division will end up as the top Wild Card winner, likely to host the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card series. The 106-48 Los Angeles Dodgers would be looming if they were to advance to the NLDS. The Mets are 9-7 against the Braves this season, so they currently own the tiebreaker, but that could change this weekend.