Phillies have done exactly what they are supposed to do against a soft schedule

Despite the disappointing loss on Wednesday, the Phillies have delivered against weaker teams.
Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies
Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies are currently off to the third-best start in the team's 140-year history, with a record of 26-12 through the first 38 games of the season. This version of the Phillies is in impressive company with a record that falls just behind the pace of the 1993 and 1976 teams. For those who forget, that 1993 team made it to the World Series.

The Phillies set a goal in spring training to get off to a better start in 2024. So far, they've delivered on that promise.

This is a Phillies team that is certifiably good. Following a tough start that resulted in a pair of losing series against the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds to start the season, the Phillies now find themselves in the midst of a four-week stretch of domination over any team unfortunate enough to lace 'em up against the local nine.

Has it been the toughest competition MLB can offer? Not exactly.

No one will be choosing teams like the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies to make a playoff push anytime soon. The Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants? Same deal

It wouldn't be honest if we didn't consider this current stretch of games against weaker and middle-tier teams as a gift from MLB schedule makers. Say what you want about the collection of teams the Phillies have beaten most recently, but the simple fact is that this is what the best teams in Major League Baseball do. Elite clubs like the Phillies are supposed to beat up on bad baseball teams. So far, mission accomplished.

Phillies have done exactly what they are supposed to do against a soft schedule

If the concept of winning against teams with .500 records and below has created any skeptics among fans and members of the national baseball media, most are missing the significant difference that makes the 2024 Phillies more dangerous than last season.

This is a team that refuses to play down to its competition. We're finally witnessing a Phillies team hellbent on crushing its competition night in and night out. No mercy.

Tuesday's annihilation of MLB ERA leader José Berríos is the latest reminder that this is not a lineup to be messed with at any time.

When the under-performing Toronto Blue Jays sent their ace Berríos out on the hill, it was safe to assume that Phillies hitters would have their work cut out for them with Alec Bohm, J.T. Realmuto and Trea Turner all absent from the lineup. Kody Clemens and Bryce Harper had other plans. After only 3 2/3 innings and allowing eight earned runs, Berríos' night was done along with his 1.44 ERA.

Phillies' upcoming schedule presents few challenges

Following a split in the two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, the team will head on the road for a three-game weekend match-up against the Miami Marlins. The Marlins are in a woeful state following a rash of devastating season-ending injuries to much of their rotation and find themselves at the bottom of the NL East with a record of 10-29.

Following the recent trade of two-time batting champ Luis Arraez, the Marlins are already in fire-sale mode, and the Phillies have a great chance to extend their 2.0 game division lead over the Braves.

Next week, the Phillies will match up with four games against the rival New York Mets in a rare home-and-home series. The 18-18 Mets have been hampered by injuries to their starting rotation and slow starts from stars Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo.

On paper, this series looks like another easy one for the Phillies. The Mets are very similar to the Blue Jays team the Phillies played this week. Both are currently middle-tier MLB clubs with enough talent to make things interesting and shouldn't be taken lightly because of their current place in the standings.

The only true contender the Phillies will face this month will be in a three-game series against the Texas Rangers at home from May 21-23. The reigning World Series champions are another team with significant starting rotation injuries. They are currently without Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, and Nathan Eovaldi but somehow find themselves at the top of the AL West due largely to an elite offense that can slug their way out of problems.

Sandwiched in between series against the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies, the series against the Rangers will be the first time in a while that the Phillies will go toe-to-toe against an elite opponent.

Before they get there, the Phillies need to keep doing what they've been doing since the second week of April. They need to continue to take advantage of this weaker schedule and maintain their division lead against the Braves. There are plenty of games left to prove their critics wrong by beating better teams later in the season. Right now, it's all about beating up on the weak.