Marlins-Mets ends night with rainout, frustration and a massive question mark in NL wild-card race

Barring a significant change, the Miami Marlins and New York Mets will take the field Monday after every other team has finished its regular season in order to play one inning of baseball.

How did we get there? Let's go through a timeline (all times ET).

The Marlins entered Thursday's game with a chance to take a big step forward in the NL wild-card race, thanks to the Chicago Cubs' loss to the Atlanta Braves. The Mets, long since eliminated from the playoffs, had nothing to play for. The Marlins currently have a half-game lead over the Cubs, as well as the tiebreaker, for the third wild-card spot.

The game in New York stayed scoreless, thanks to brilliant outings from the Marlins' Jesus Luzardo and the Mets' David Peterson, until ...

9:19 p.m.: Mets outfielder Rafael Ortega, a journeyman for the past decade, hits an RBI single to score a runner left by Luzardo in the bottom of the eighth inning.

9:32 p.m.: Needing a run, Marlins center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. doubles with a man on base to tie the game 1-1 and put the lead run in scoring position.

9:36 p.m.: Pinch-hitter Yuli Gurriel follows Chisholm with a single to take the lead, turning a deflating loss into a potentially massive win.

Then it started raining.

Rain has been a pest for the Marlins since they arrived in New York for this series, as they were previously put in a disadvantageous position when the Mets grounds crew was unable to get Citi Field into playing shape after rain Tuesday. That turned Wednesday into a doubleheader, likely costing the Marlins a Braxton Garrett start in the process, but that was just the warm-up act for Thursday.

9:41 p.m.: After a couple of minutes of strong rains, the umpires suspend the game with men on first and second and two outs in the top of the ninth, with the Marlins leading 2-1.

It was at this point that a wild scenario was in play, as rule 7.02 (b)(4)(A) dictates that if a game is called due to rain and unable to be completed, the score is reverted to the last completed inning, which would give the Mets a 1-0 win.

Fortunately, MLB very much did not want that to happen. The league proceeded to wait 2 hours and 40 minutes, hoping for a break in the rain.

12:21 a.m.: The Mets grounds crew starts moving the infield tarp, inspiring hope that the game might finally finish before the break of dawn. That tarp was moved to left field, where it remained until ...

12:37 a.m.: The tarp is put back on. It was around this time that Marlins manager Skip Schumaker started getting very angry — or at least started showing his anger.

At another point, the Marlins X account (née Twitter) officially changed its bio to "We have a roof."

12:59 a.m.: The game is officially suspended.

At this point, MLB had a few options, including rule 7.02 (b)(4)(A). The Marlins are set to travel to finish their season on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates, while the Mets will face the Philadelphia Phillies at home, assuming New York City isn't underwater by then. The league could've decided to finish the game Friday and introduce a doubleheader into both team's weekend series. Or ...

1:01 a.m.: The other option, which Marlins general manager Kim Ng told reporters that MLB said is likely happening, is to have the Marlins travel back to New York after the Pittsburgh series and finish the game Monday, via Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald:

“Without getting into the details, obviously this is an unfortunate incident. Right now, we’re being told that we'll have to play [the suspended game] on Monday.”

Rain falls during a rain delay of a baseball game between the New York Mets and the Miami Marlins early Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Rain has turned this week's Marlins-Mets series into a fiasco. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

MLB will probably call off those plans if the game's result has no bearing on the wild-card race, but if the Marlins are forced to play that inning Monday and indeed make the playoffs as the third wild card, their reward will be a series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday in Milwaukee.

There was at least one winner in this, though: The San Diego Padres, who would've been knocked out by a Marlins win, staved off elimination for one more day.