One of the criticisms of the Phillies’ hot start is that they haven’t played anyone. They’ve got series wins over the Marlins, Giants, Angels, Padres, White Sox, Rockies, Cardinals, and Nationals. As of Monday morning, the Padres are the only team in that group with a record currently above .500.

Part of that can be attributed to the fact that the Phillies handed these squads multiple losses, but it’s also worth pointing out that eight of the 14 teams with winning records in Major League Baseball play in the AL, and those games are back loaded on the Phillies’ schedule. They don’t get the Yankees and Dodgers and similar deplorables until June, at the earliest.

Thing is, the Phillies haven’t been fantastic against the dregs of Major League Baseball in recent seasons, which we talked about on Crossing Broadcast:

Tim Kelly, of Phillies Nation, on the “peaking too early” storyline:

“Somebody asked J.T. Realmuto that question the other day and I don’t think he cared for it much. What are they supposed to do, not win this early in the season? They talked for years now about getting off to better starts. They’ve finally done that, and it’s something I’ve noticed, that when they’re off to this good of a start, there’s almost nothing to write about or talk about, and I feel like people try to manufacture ideas like that – are they peaking too early? I guess ultimately we’ll see, but in order to win the division and get that first round bye in the playoffs, you’re gonna need to win 95 to 100 games, and to do that you’re going to need to be winning at the pace they are now.”

In a way,  it is what it is. What’s the old cliche? “You can only play the teams in front of you.”

ESPN runs a “relative power index” that ranks strength of schedule, and the Phillies are last. Dead last. Tankathon has a “remaining” SOS number, which has the Phillies 11th, so higher, of course, but not top 10 because of the way MLB is currently sorted. That could change, of course, if the remaining NL opponents on the schedule get hot and make themselves contenders, but look, for example, at the Yankees’ series wins this year:

  1. Astros (2x)
  2. D Backs
  3. Blue Jays
  4. Marlins
  5. Guardians
  6. Rays (2x)
  7. A’s
  8. Brewers
  9. Tigers

A better resume, but it’s also May 13th, and the Phillies have three series coming up here against the Mets, Nats, and defending champion Texas Rangers. New York and Washington aren’t world beaters, but they’re pesky division rivals, and the Mets are in better form than they were to begin the season, so if you ask me, coming through this 10-game stretch looking good probably does answer some of the schedule questions. Yes, 8 of the 10 games are at home, but if you can win 6, 7, or even 8 you’re putting a damper on narrative, at least somewhat.

Looking ahead, the biggest test isn’t that far away. They return from a six-game west coast run to host the Cardinals for three at home, then it’s Brewers, Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, in that order. You come out of that in decent shape and this is no longer a topic.