The Miami Marlins have been battling hard to claim one of the two remaining National League wild-card spots, but their chances took a hit on Tuesday night when they played the New York Mets. The two teams didn't even take the field, yet the Marlins still somehow lost.
Due to unplayable field conditions from the weekend's rain, Tuesday night's game between the Mets and Marlins was postponed and scheduled to be made up as a straight doubleheader on Wednesday. For the fourth-place Mets, who have a 71-85 record and nothing to play for other than their salaries, it was fine. But for the Marlins, who are just half a game outside of the third wild-card spot, it had a major impact.
The Marlins had lined up their best starter, lefty Braxton Garrett, to pitch on Tuesday night. That way he would be on normal rest to start the regular season finale on Sunday, which could be the game that seals Miami's trip to the playoffs. But with the postponement, Garrett now has to pitch on Wednesday, meaning he won't pitch on Sunday unless the Marlins are willing to start him on just three days of rest.
The ripples of the postponement go beyond Garrett. The Marlins' entire bullpen is going to be stressed from Wednesday, and there's no chance for them to catch their breath.
And if they manage to make it into the playoffs, they've got just a single day to rest before they have to fight for their lives in the three-game wild-card series.
So how are the Mets at fault here? The rain wasn't their fault. And the grounds crew worked hard to get the field in playable condition. Sometimes the ground is too wet, which it was in this case. But how did the field get so wet to begin with, especially since it should have been covered for days as the rain rolled through?
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Marlins officials were told that the Mets grounds crew hadn't covered the infield on Saturday when it rained, which meant all that water went directly into the ground. The entire field was "eventually" covered with the tarp since it was due to rain all weekend, but so much water had reportedly seeped into the ground between Saturday and Monday (while the Mets were out of town playing the Philadelphia Phillies) that hours of work from the grounds crew on Tuesday couldn't get the field in playable condition.
The Mets didn't do this on purpose. Sometimes accidents happen. But nothing feels more Mets than a careless mistake blowing up into something with actual consequences. The difference this time is that the consequences don't directly affect them — but only because their season has been such an abject disaster that nothing can hurt them anymore.