Commentary: The Mets-Phillies Rivalry Turns

Posted on May 8 2015 - 6:00pm by The StatMan

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Before 2007, there had been very few moments of real juice in the Mets-Phillies rivalry.  It was a rivalry in name only, a geographic rivalry separated by the New Jersey Turnpike.  The Phillies had success from 1976-83, which also coincidentally marked the darkest Dark Age in Mets history.  In fact, 1976 was the last gasp for the Seaver-Koosman Mets and 1983 was the year before the official dawn of the Doc-and-Darryl Mets (1).  They ran in similar circles in the late 1980s, but the Phillies were not a threat during the high points of the Mets franchise (1969, 1973, 1986, 1998-2000).

But, the 2007 season is when the rivalry really turned, with the Phillies charging from seven games behind with 17 games left on the front-running Mets.  It stands as one of the biggest choke jobs in the history of baseball, arguably second to the Phillies own surrendering of a near-sure pennant in 1964 to the St. Louis Cardinals.  The change at the top of the standings in September, 2007, was a portent for the next few years of Phillie dominance at the top of the division while the Mets faltered, fell, and crumbled over the next few seasons.  the Phillies owned the Mets between 2007-11 by a 51-39 margin.

However, as the season series between the Mets and Phillies continues at Citizens Bank Park this weekend, with an ace-versus-ace duel between Matt Harvey and Cole Hamels, the tide has turned in the last three seasons to the tune of a 36-23 record in favor of the Mets, including a 13-6 Mets season series win last year and a three-game series sweep to kick off the Mets home 2015 schedule.  The rivalry is seemingly back in the Mets hands to try and chip away on the Phillies all-time edge, 481-433, entering play on Friday night.

In the National League East standings, there has been a similar turnaround.  The Phillies finished ahead of the Mets each year from 2007 through 2012, but the Mets edged ahead by a game in 2013 and the Phillies sunk to the bottom of the division in 2014.  In the standings and in the rivalry, the Mets are back to being the hunted and the Phillies are going to try to hang with them.

The Mets are set up for potential dominance for the foreseeable future.  Yes, there are remnants of glories past still on the Phillies roster.  Chase Utley is still a Met killer, but he is 9-for-87 (.103) to start the season despite going 3-for-11 with two homers against the Mets this year.  But, the Phillies are old and the end of the line is near.  They are shell of who they used to be.  The Phillies are overdue to sell off their assets, but who would take them?  The Phillies need to re-stock their barren farm system.  They are years away from contending themselves and may just finish 2015 with the worst record in the league.

The Mets are young and their time is coming.  They have the pitching to contend right now and they are a bat away from being serious.  This weekend, the Mets have Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee.  Niese and Gee are bastions of the old Mets and many fans want to trade them off to make room for more youth in Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.  The Mets have such youth right now that their Triple-A team, the Las Vegas 51s, are 20-8 and are currently riding a 14-game winning streak.  Behind Hamels in the Phillies rotation are two reclamation projects, Aaron Harang and Chad Billingsley.  Yikes.

This could be the last time Hamels faces the Mets in a Phillies uniform.  The Cardinals are looking to replace Adam Wainwright.  The Red Sox started the season without an ace and need one to contend.  The Yankees need one after Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to miss at least a month with an arm injury.  There are suitors for Hamels and the time has come for Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr., to abandon his hopes of raiding an entire farm system and get the best haul he can.

Here is the all-time series between the Mets and Phillies, now in its 54th season with the changes in power between the two teams in the series.

All-Time Series
Phillies lead all-time series, 481-433 (through 5/7/15)

Yearly Summary
ROUND 1: Mets are the new kids in town (PHI 85, NYM 41)
1962: NYM won 4, PHI won 14.
1963: NYM won 8, PHI won 10.
1964: NYM won 3, PHI won 15.
1965: NYM won 7, PHI won 11.
1966: NYM won 7, PHI won 11.
1967: NYM won 4, PHI won 14.
1968: NYM won 8, PHI won 10.

ROUND 2: The Amazin’ Mets are good and the Phillies, not so much (NYM 60, PHI 30)
1969: NYM won 12, PHI won 6.
1970: NYM won 13, PHI won 5.
1971: NYM won 13, PHI won 5.
1972: NYM won 13, PHI won 5.
1973: NYM won 9, PHI won 9.

ROUND 3: Mike Schmidt and the Phillies start to dominate (PHI 117, NYM 61)
1974: NYM won 7, PHI won 11.
1975: NYM won 7, PHI won 11.
1976: NYM won 5, PHI won 13.
1977: NYM won 5, PHI won 13.
1978: NYM won 6, PHI won 12.
1979: NYM won 5, PHI won 13.
1980: NYM won 6, PHI won 12.
1981: NYM won 7, PHI won 7.
1982: NYM won 7, PHI won 11.
1983: NYM won 6, PHI won 12.

ROUND 4: Ships passing in the night as the Mets have their turn at the top (NYM 85, PHI 59)
1984: NYM won 10, PHI won 8.
1985: NYM won 11, PHI won 7.
1986: NYM won 8, PHI won 10.
1987: NYM won 13, PHI won 5.
1988: NYM won 10, PHI won 8.
1989: NYM won 12, PHI won 6.
1990: NYM won 10, PHI won 8.
1991: NYM won 11, PHI won 7.

ROUND 5: The Phillies grab the mantle briefly (PHI 28, NYM 13)
1992: NYM won 6, PHI won 12.
1993: NYM won 3, PHI won 10.
1994: NYM won 4, PHI won 6.

ROUND 6: The Wild Card Era begins with the Mets getting the upper hand (NYM 52, PHI 42)
1995: NYM won 7, PHI won 6.
1996: NYM won 7, PHI won 6.
1997: NYM won 7, PHI won 5.
1998: NYM won 8, PHI won 4.
1999: NYM won 6, PHI won 6.
2000: NYM won 6, PHI won 7.
2001: NYM won 11, PHI won 8.

ROUND 7: The Phillies were consistently above .500 and the Mets were going through another rebuild (PHI 33, NYM 24)
2002: NYM won 9, PHI won 10.
2003: NYM won 7, PHI won 12.
2004: NYM won 8, PHI won 11.

ROUND 8: Both teams were over .500 and moving towards the top of the standings (NYM 22, PHI 15)
2005: NYM won 11, PHI won 7.
2006: NYM won 11, PHI won 8.

ROUND 9: The Mets hate Septembers, the Phillies win divisions (PHI 51, NYM 39)
2007: NYM won 6, PHI won 12.
2008: NYM won 11, PHI won 7.
2009: NYM won 6, PHI won 12.
2010: NYM won 9, PHI won 9.
2011: NYM won 7, PHI won 11.

ROUND 10: The Mets are on the way back (NYM 36, PHI 23)
2012: NYM won 10, PHI won 8.
2013: NYM won 10, PHI won 9.
2014: NYM won 13, PHI won 6.
2015: NYM won 3, PHI won 0 (through 5/7/15).

(Source: http://www.baseball-reference.com/games/head2head-games.cgi?team1=NYM&team2=PHI&from=1962&to=2015)

Footnotes:

(1) – Darryl Strawberry actually debuted in 1983, but Dwight Gooden made his debut in April, 1984.

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