Phillies Spring Schedule Can Make Season

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Things do not look good in the city of brotherly love. The Philadelphia Phillies, who once again spent big this past offseason on free-agent outfielders Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber, find themselves below .500, and 5.5 games behind the division-leading New York Mets. The Phils have slowly clawed their way back up the standings and towards .500. But a challenging late spring schedule for the Phillies stands a chance of making or breaking the season.

Just quickly take a glance at the Phillies’ spring schedule from May 12th to June 9th. Now it may be appropriate to wonder why the schedule makers hate the Phillies so much. However, every team goes through rough patches in their schedule. But, the Phillies’ stretch of 23 games does seem particularly cruel, especially for a team that struggled in April. 

Late Spring Schedule Will Be a Huge Test for Phillies

Starting May 12th, the Phillies will duke it out against the Los Angeles Dodgers for four games. Then they’ll host the San Diego Padres, and Dodgers again, for three games apiece. Then four against the Atlanta Braves and three against the Mets. The San Francisco Giants will come to Philly for three and then the Los Angeles Angels for another three. Finally, the gauntlet will end with a three-game set in Milwaukee

Of the seven teams that the Phillies will play over the next 23 games, only one of them has a losing record— the defending World Champion Braves. The Dodgers, Padres, Mets, Giants, Brewers, and Angels have all won 20 or more games. Four of them made the playoffs last year and three of them won their division. Those seven teams have combined to win 141 games this season, with a .613 win percentage. 

To make things more difficult, if that’s even possible, the Phillies won’t have an off day from the 17th of May to the 1st of June. A beleaguered Phillies team will have to drag themselves through a 16-game stretch without a day off. Not to mention that stretch coming against some of the best teams in baseball. The Phillies will have to show what they’re made of—the next twenty days will be the hardest stretch of baseball they’ll endure all season.

The Phillies season will either finish one of two ways: a pattern following 81-81 or 82-80 finish or an irregular postseason berth. Already being close to .500, the Phillies simply cannot afford to coast through the next 23 games. If they want to stay afloat in the uber-competitive NL East, the Phillies need to have a successful month. Anything less than a moderate success will kill their playoff hopes.

The Rest of the Season Will Ease With the Summer Months Approaching

Now to be a little less doom and gloom. The Phillies’ schedule actually lightens up once this stretch of games passes. Currently, the Phillies have the 28th ranked strength of schedule in all MLB, above only the Cleveland Guardians and St. Louis Cardinals. Of the games the Phillies have left to play, their opponents have a combined .479 win percentage. If the Phils can manage to eke out some wins against the juggernauts they have to face over the next month, the rest of the season should be relatively smooth sailing. 

With 19 games left against the Washington Nationals and 17 against the Miami Marlins, the Phillies can potentially add to their win total. Not to mention the seven left to play against the dreadful Cincinnati Reds. The Phillies won’t have to see three potential juggernauts for the rest of the year to make matters a little better. The Phillies will be done with the Dodgers, Angels, and Brewers once this stretch is over.

If things seem grim Phillies fans, take reprieve in the fact that this is as hard as it will get. There will be a lot of Reds and Nationals games to look forward to in the coming months. So if the Phillies can survive the gauntlet that is their late spring schedule, the rest of the season will look markedly less intimidating by comparison.

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images

Players Mentioned:

Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber