There are few things Phillies fans enjoy more than making fun of the Mets.
But if you hadn't noticed, the Mets have gained 10½ games in the standings on the Phillies over the last eight weeks.
Since Aug. 6, the Phillies are 13-25 and the Mets are 25-16.
The offensive numbers of the Braves, Phillies and Mets are telling.
The Braves have hit .259/.325/.424 with 711 runs scored.
The Phillies have hit .238/.316/.399 with 641 runs.
The Mets have hit .236/.312/.393 with 644 runs.
Offensively, the gap between the Phils and Braves this season has been substantial. The gap between the Phils and Mets, sadly, has been negligible.
It's a worrisome sign because the Phillies have so much more offensive talent than the Mets. Yoenis Cespedes has played 38 games this season. Jay Bruce has played 82. Michael Conforto started hitting only recently.
And yet the Phils, with a full season of Rhys Hoskins and the addition of Carlos Santana, haven't been able to muster much more offense.
The Mets have an interesting near future. With Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and this new, ace-like version of Zack Wheeler, they have the best 1-2-3 of any National League rotation. A trade for an everyday position player would make a lot of sense. They have many, many questions offensively, mainly because they rarely spend money these days.
The Phillies, meanwhile, must figure out a way before next season to close the gap on the Braves. There is simply no player in the Phils' organization with the skill level of Freddie Freeman or Ronald Acuña Jr. The quickest and most obvious way to close that gap would be by adding Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.
The Phillies entered the week with a 97 percent chance of missing the playoffs, according to Fangraphs. Yet still, these remaining seven games with the Braves have meaning. The Phillies have gone 5-7 against the Braves this season, losing three of the four series. Going 5-2 in these games against Atlanta could have a positive psychological benefit for the Phils, the way their 36-36 finish last season did.
This offense just needs some sort of infusion. The Phillies want to see pitches, see pitches, see pitches, make pitchers work, etc. They entered Monday night with 22 more walks than the Mets and 120 more strikeouts. The Phils just don't have enough players to properly enact that offensive philosophy, aside from Hoskins and Santana.
Harper fits the description. Machado is a more aggressive, freer swinger but is obviously a difference-making star.
In all likelihood, the Phils will finish five to seven games behind the Braves in the NL East this season. There are few players in baseball capable of increasing a team's win total by five to seven, but Harper and Machado are two of them.
Either way, the Phillies are observant enough to realize they can't go into 2019 with this offensive personnel.