Can we please stop talking about the Phillies’ schedule?

Most of the conversation about the Phillies' historic start isn't about their play on the field, but the teams in the other dugout. It's time to give it up.
Texas Rangers v Philadelphia Phillies
Texas Rangers v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies have come out of the gates scorching in 2024.

Through 51 games, the Phillies are 37-14, the best start in the history of Phillies baseball — a span that covers 142 years. When they recorded their 36th win in their first 50 games on Wednesday, they matched the best start to a season since the historic 2001 Seattle Mariners. That Mariners team won 116 games and broke the MLB single-season wins record in the process.

After a start like that, most would think that the Phillies would start to earn more respect and be feared across the league. Instead, the narrative is running in the opposite direction.

An odd quirk that the Phillies have encountered through the beginning of their schedule includes just six games against teams that are above .500, meaning that those teams have won more games than lost. Most other teams have around 20 games against sub-.500 opponents, leading to the conversation of: "Are the Phillies really as good as they look?"

Simply put: yes. They are that good, but that isn't leading to any let up from the players.

Can we please stop talking about the Phillies’ schedule?

The league just hasn't been that good.

That seems like something a team with the best record in baseball would say, but the records speak for themselves.

As of May 23, there are five teams in the National League over .500, including the Phillies. When you add in the American League teams, there are only 12 teams over .500. The gap between the best and worst squads in MLB is one of the largest we have seen in recent memory.

There have been five teams that have started the 2024 season hot, including the Phillies. Their inflated records creates a bigger gap between those over the even mark for wins and those below. When teams collect wins and go further above even, it puts more and more teams below .500.



Games over .500
















When teams are that good, they make middle of the road teams look bad. While the Phillies have been taking care of business against the bad teams, they haven't been outmatched by the others either.

In their six games against teams over .500, they have won four. The biggest issue with the teams the Phillies have played is that after playing the Phillies, they are a different ball club.

The Phillies spent two series out west, facing the San Francisco Giants who are one game below .500 and the San Diego Padres who just got back to one game over .500 after a win on Thursday. Both teams suffered sweeps at the hands of the Phils, meaning that if the series had turned out better, they could be above .500 right now. Other teams with recent success also came head-to-head with the Phillies, such as the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds, Both of which had a rough time.

It would make sense that people would believe the strength of schedule arguments if they had not watched this team play. One could watch just one game and realize this Phillies team is the real deal.

The Phillies have played great on both sides of the ball

During the first two months of the season, the Phillies have faced some of the top pitchers in the league in terms of ERA including Dylan Cease, Logan Webb and José Berríos. The seven pitchers ranked in the top 25 in ERA that the Phillies have faced have a combined ERA of 7.02 against the Phillies, according to Dylan MacKinnon of 97.5 The Fanatic.

For reference, the closest qualified pitcher to that ERA number is Patrick Corbin at 6.29, who ranks 77th in ERA.

Over their last 162 games, dating back to May of last year, the Phillies have the best record in baseball, sitting at 103-59. Over the past two years, they have made two deep postseason runs including the 2022 World Series and being one game away in 2023.

Along with that recent success, the Phillies have a great team in 2024. Their pitching staff has the third-best ERA in MLB (3.14), the second-highest strikeouts per nine (9.23), and ranks in or around the top five in the league in most major pitching categories.

Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suárez and Aaron Nola have been outstanding in anchoring the rotation while others like Matt Strahm and José Alvarado have been good out of the bullpen.

The bats are hitting like it's the middle of summer as well.

The Phillies have driven in the most runs (263), scored the most runs (277), and have the highest on-base percentage (.338) in all of baseball. They rank second with a .260 batting average and are third with a .758 OPS.

What they have done with runners in scoring position is what sets them apart. They have driven in the most runners (204) in those clutch spots as well as ranking in the top three in OPS (.853), home runs (20), and hits (131). It also helps when you have one of the best hitters this season Alec Bohm.

On both sides of the ball, the Phillies have been locked in, playing their best baseball. While their schedule may favor them in the beginning part of the season, they have done what they have not been able to do in the past few seasons, start off hot.

While no one knows how things would have gone if they started against a more challenging schedule of teams, the Phillies are rolling and it's unlikely that many other teams would be able to slow the roll they are on.