FIRST PITCH: Despite a 140-minute rain delay at the outset during which Michael Cuddyer entertained his teammates with magic tricks, then a late-night game in a mostly empty stadium, the New York Mets avoided a letdown within a series-opening win in Atlanta on Thursday.
“I’m very proud of them,” manager Terry Collins said after the Mets opened a season-high 7½-game lead over the second-place Washington Nationals.
The Mets’ magic number is down to 16.
Collins said he was surprised the game took place given the ankle-deep standing water in the outfield before the grounds crew began their work, plus a stream flowing from the dugout into the hallway heading to the visitors’ clubhouse.
“I’ll tell you what, I’ve never come here where we don’t play a game. I don’t care what time it starts,” Collins said. “Everybody else is getting postponed. We play. Eleven o’clock, it doesn’t matter.”
Matz departed Sunday’s start in Miami after 81 pitches with a blister on his left middle finger. He threw a bullpen session on Wednesday at Nationals Park and pronounced himself ready.
Wisler takes the spot of Manny Banuelos, who was scratched with elbow discomfort.
The Mets will wear first-responder caps pregame in remembrance of those departments’ contributions on 9/11 and during the aftermath.
FRIDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:
Bartolo Colon ran his scoreless streak to 31 innings before having it snapped and the Mets avoided a letdown with a 7-2 win against the Braves on a damp night at Turner Field. Colon set the major league record for consecutive scoreless innings by a pitcher age 42 or older, passing Cy Young and Warren Spahn (27). Colon came within five outs of matching R.A. Dickey’s franchise record of 32 2/3, which was set in 2012, during the knuckleballer’s Cy Young season. Jerry Koosman had a 31 2/3-inning streak in 1973. Colon’s scoreless streak is tied with Dwight Gooden in 1985 and Tom Seaver in 1971 for the third-longest in franchise history. “I’m really proud and surprised myself that at this stage of my career I can still do that type of stuff and perform,” Colon said through an interpreter. “I’m really happy and proud more than anything at helping the team win.” Colon is 13-1 against the NL East and 1-10 against the rest of baseball this season. He also had an RBI single on Thursday. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and at MLB.com.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen was admitted to a local Atlanta hospital before Thursday’s game after experiencing a rapid heartbeat. He remained hospitalized overnight. Warthen is in good spirits, but is not expected in uniform Friday. Bullpen coach Ricky Bones is handling Warthen’s pitching-coach duties.
Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post assesses Yoenis Cespedes’ NL MVP chances. Spoiler alert: They’re slim. Jared Diamond in the Journal, Benjamin Hoffman in the Times and Marc Carig in Newsday also review Cespedes’ candidacy.
Critic Phil Mushnick in the Post addresses Harvey’s innings cap.
Binghamton was rained out Thursday in its Eastern League playoff series. Both the B-Mets and Savannah play Game 2 of their opening-round series on Friday, trying to bounce back from losses in their openers.
From the bloggers … Mets Report looks at the team’s black-cat moment of 2015. … Legends on Deck thinks the Mets are better with Cespedes. … Blogging Mets puts together a possible playoff roster for the Mets.
BIRTHDAYS: Frank Francisco turns 36.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
What are we waiting for? Let's play ball. pic.twitter.com/Pvw5ig76ZW— Kevin Plawecki (@kplawecki26) September 10, 2015
YOU’RE UP: Which four pitchers would you include in a postseason rotation?