Phillies survive toughest stretch of schedule, cruise into July

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 1: The Philadelphia Phillies surround home plate and celebrate with Andrew Knapp #15 after he hit a game winning, walk off, solo home run in the 13th inning during a game against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on July 1, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 4-3 in 13 innings. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 1: The Philadelphia Phillies surround home plate and celebrate with Andrew Knapp #15 after he hit a game winning, walk off, solo home run in the 13th inning during a game against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on July 1, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 4-3 in 13 innings. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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The Phillies were able to play .500 baseball during an extremely difficult stretch of games and are now in good shape to start July.

The last month and a half of Phillies baseball was regarded as the toughest part of their schedule the entire season. They had to play some of the best teams in the league, including the Yankees, Cubs, and Brewers. Altogether, since May 17, the combined winning percentage of Philadelphia’s opponents is near .600.

Heading into this stretch, all we were really hoping for was the team to hold things together. It was hard to expect them to hold a .600 winning percentage like they had up through May 16. All they had to do was not completely fall apart and they would remain in playoff contention once the run of tough games was so over.

Philadelphia did exactly what we were hoping for. They managed a .500 record in their last 42 games, capped off by a walk-off win Sunday against the Nationals. With this win in tow, the club is now 45-37 with a hold on the second wild-card spot in the National League. They remain eight games above .500 and in second place in the NL East.

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While the first part of this 42-game-stretch did not go well, the latter half was far better. Since June 10, the Phils are 12-7. They have won five of their last six series, rattling off four straight series wins for the first time all year.

With this rough stretch now behind the team, the schedule starts looking a lot nicer. They don’t play a winning team again until July 23. Until August 21, the only winning teams on the schedule are the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox. They play the Marlins, Padres, and Reds, all of whom are in last place. They also the play the Mets, who are just one game ahead of the Marlins in the NL East after an abysmal 5-21 month of June.

The Pirates are the only somewhat competitive team they face until the All-Star Break.

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While the end of the season will possess a few tough series, it will be nothing compared to what the team just went through. They are on pace for an 89-73 record, their best record since 2011. They could improve on this pace the rest of the year thanks to the easier schedule and put themselves well in contention for a playoff spot.

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