The Phillies responded much better to their World Series loss than the Mets did to exiting in the first round
The biggest difference of all seems to be the attitude. The crushing defeat by the San Diego Padres in last year’s Wild Card round seemed to suck a lot of air out of the Mets. Buck Showalter never seemed as enthusiastic this year. Some early beatings against bad teams in May didn’t help the feeling around the time. Plus, with players like Tommy Pham exiting and claiming the Mets position players are the least-hard working among any he has ever played with, there was likely some tension in a couple of places throughout the year.
Far too much of this Mets season included rumors about players disliking each other. The strained relationship between Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander seems like one of the most obvious and yet how does a personal feud between two pitchers really affect a team all that much? Publicly, Mets players do act as if they like or can at least stand each other. We may never know for sure exactly what kind of tension there was behind the scenes.
The Phillies never had that dead feeling this year. Even without Bryce Harper for an extended period of time, they made it through. Most well-known from this year was how Phillies fans cheered Trea Turner out of his slump.
Hype around these two clubs was equal if not in favor of the Mets. The 2022 Phillies seemed fluky. Aside from adding Turner and some bullpen arms, taking Taijuan Walker from the Mets was their biggest acquisition. Up in Queens, there was a much better team on paper.
The game isn’t played on paper. Emotions and personalities are involved. This was how the Phillies managed to surpass the Mets most. Talent matters, but so does the presence of elements outside of the box score. The Mets looked like a team still icing themselves down after their playoff defeat a year earlier. The Phillies wiped some dirt on it.