By Peter Gleason

The Phillies are 36-14, six games ahead of the Atlanta Braves atop the National League East.

The five-game lead they held on Tuesday was the club’s largest division lead since the final game of the 2011 season.

Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott are all hitting like All-Stars.

The starting staff, bolstered by Ranger Suárez, boasts the lowest rotation ERA in MLB.

Leave it to yahoos on Yahoo Sports to try to piss on that:

Is this team actually an improved version of itself or simply the beneficiary of an outrageously cushy early-season schedule?

The answer is yes.

How easy has Philadelphia’s path been? So far in 2024, the Phillies have played just three games against a team with a record currently above .500, and all three of those came Opening Weekend against the Braves. Since then, Philadelphia has played 19 of its games against five of MLB’s worst six teams: the Reds, Rockies, Marlins, Angels and White Sox. Besides Atlanta, the Phillies have not seen a division leader.

Entering Tuesday, Philadelphia’s opponents’ combined winning percentage this year was .465, by far the lowest in MLB. The next-easiest schedule belonged to Tampa Bay at .477. No other team had an SOS under .480.

That’s a Charmin ultra-soft schedule. Cozier than Egyptian cotton. Far from a gauntlet. The smoothest possible sailing. But multiple things can be true at once: The schedule has been bad, and the Phillies have been better.


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