Trea Turner in action during a baseball game against the New York Mets, Sunday, June 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Coming into the 2023 baseball season, Mets owner Steve Cohen, the richest man in the sport, spent just shy of several trillion dollars on his baseball team.

OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but Cohen actually spent nearly half a billion on nine new players, for a grand total of just over $423 million. His annual payroll is unparalleled in the sport, sitting at a robust $344 million this season, far ahead of the New York Yankees’ $279 million.

Yet after an epic collapse, the Mets are 35-43, 16 games behind the Braves in the NL East and a whopping 8.5 games behind the Dodgers for the third wild card spot.

The Phils have opened a 5-game lead on them after taking two of three at Citizens Bank Park over the weekend in a series that, in all honesty, the Mets should have swept. On Friday night, they dropped two fly balls in the outfield that opened the door for the Phillies’ first three runs in an eventual 5-1 victory. 

But that was just the warm-up act. In the 8th inning on Sunday, the Mets held a 6-3 lead. The Phils had failed to get the big hit all day, once again, and the Mets had a 91.6% win expectancy as the inning began.

10 batters later, the Phillies had scored four runs on one hit while going 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position to take a shocking 7-6 lead. The Phils, now, were at 92.2% to win the game. In case you’re wondering what that shift in win expectancy looks like in graph form, here you go:

How did the Phillies do this? The more accurate question is, how did the Mets allow it to happen? Let us count the ways:

  1. An error on an Alec Bohm double play ground ball that scored a run and kept the bases loaded with 0 out, rather than a runner on 3rd and two out, with a 6-4 Mets lead.
  2. A bases loaded walk by Brandon Marsh
  3. A bases loaded hit-by-pitch on Kyle Schwarber.
  4. A bases loaded hit-by-pitch on Trea Turner.

This was the second time in Mets history in which a pitcher hit two straight batters to force in a run. The last time it happened was in the Mets’ final series of the season against the Marlins back in 2007, when Oliver Perez hit Cody Ross and Mike Jacobs with the bases loaded.

You’ll remember that’s the series in which the Mets’ 2007 collapse from 7.5 up with 17 to play culminated.

The Phillies struck out twice with the bases loaded with a Bryce Harper bases loaded fly out the final out of the inning, so it’s not like the offense suddenly found another gear. The Mets utterly gifted them a victory and, to their credit, the Phillies and Craig Kimbrel didn’t blow it. 

The Mets’ broadcast team was apoplectic.

No one’s going to sit here and tell you the Phillies’ 40-37 record is what we were expecting. Expectations were through the roof when the season started, so being 3.5 games out of the third wild card at this point in the season is certainly justifiable cause for frustration among Phils fans. 

But perhaps a bit of solace (and no small amount of joy) can be taken at watching our rivals to the north deal with one of the most disappointing and underachieving seasons in Major League Baseball history. 

John Stolnis grew up in Delco as a rabid fan of all Philadelphia sports, but the Phillies have always held a special place in his heart, particularly those disappointing Juan Samuel-led teams of the late...