Phillies' April schedule is the big silver lining after a tough start to the season

The Phillies didn't necessarily come out firing during their opening weekend series with the Braves, but their April schedule provides some relief. Hopefully, the Phillies can take advantage.
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Well, opening weekend came and went, and needless to say, it wasn’t the most ideal start for the Philadelphia Phillies and their fans.

The Phillies dropped the first two games with a combined score of 21-7 before salvaging the series with an impressive come-from-behind 5-4 win in the final game on Sunday. Kicking off the season with a couple of duds is always disappointing, especially with the high expectations everyone has for this Phillies team, but there may be some reason for optimism.

Successful teams have been here before

First and foremost, the Phillies started extremely slow last season, being swept by the Rangers and going 1-5 over the first week, before making it to the NLCS. In 2022, which eventually led to a World Series appearance, they started 4-8, and it got so bad that their slow start eventually led to the dismissal of manager Joe Girardi.

Taking it a step further, the World Series-winning teams in 2008 (Phillies), 2009 (Yankees), 2011 (Cardinals), 2012 (Giants), 2019 (Nationals), and 2021 (Braves), all started 0-2.

All of that to say, starting slow doesn’t necessarily mean the season is over. There is precedent that teams can overcome slow starts, especially ones where it is just the first series of a long 162-game season. An 0-2 start isn't the death sentence that the fans may perceive it as.

The upcoming schedule is the Phillies’ friend

There is even more reason to be optimistic when you dive into the upcoming April schedule. The next 29 games, starting today against the Cincinnati Reds and ending on May 1, are against teams who did not make the playoffs in 2023 and had a combined 2023 record of 657-801 for a .451 winning percentage.

While last year's results aren't necessarily a referendum on how a certain team will perform the following year, the teams on the Phillies' April schedule are not expected to be the best of the best. Looking at preseason power rankings, the highest-rated teams are the San Diego Padres at 14th and the Reds at 15th, while the Phillies are ranked 4th on that same list.

The Phillies will have to take advantage of the softer schedule they have in front of them as this will likely be the easiest stretch they will see all season. That being said, just 13 of the next 29 games are in the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies' upcoming opponents

Here is how the Phillies' next month of games looks:

  • 3 vs Reds (2023 record: 82-80)
  • 3 @ Nationals (2023 record: 71-91)
  • 3 vs Cardinals (2023 record: 71-91)
  • 4 vs Pirates (2023 record: 76-86)
  • 3 vs White Sox (2023 record: 61-101)
  • 4 @ Reds (2023 record: 82-80)
  • 3 @ Padres (2023 record: 82-80)
  • 3 @ Angels (2023 record: 73-89)

As we’ve learned from this team over the last few years, nothing is a given, and they will have to come ready to play at their highest standard. That means the bullpen has to show up, Nola has to figure out his inconsistencies, and the offense needs to wake up and get the clutch hits.

The Phillies have high expectations this season and aspirations to win the division. It wasn’t necessarily a confidence-building weekend for the team, but they have a chance in front of them that they need to capitalize on.