Home Sports Phillies improve record to 36-14, MLB’s best 50-game start since 2001 Mariners

Phillies improve record to 36-14, MLB’s best 50-game start since 2001 Mariners

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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – MAY 22: JT Realmuto #10 and Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies react after a solo home run by Realmuto during the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Citizens Bank Park on May 22, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Phillies are winning at a rate not seen in 23 years.

The team defeated the Texas Rangers 11-4 on Wednesday to improve their record to 36-14, which is not only the best record in MLB. It’s the best 50-game record the league has seen since the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who won 116 games, an MLB record.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson was quick to note what that really meant for the team’s goal of winning the World Series. via MLB.com:

“What did they do in the end?” said manager Rob Thomson of that Mariners club that won 116 wins and lost in the American League Championship Series. “Yo have to go ahead. You just have to keep working, keep pushing until the end.”

According to MLB, only 26 teams have won at least 36 of their first 50 games in the modern era (since 1900). Of those 26, only 11 won the World Series and only two (the 1984 Detroit Tigers and the 1998 New York Yankees) did so in the divisional era (since 1969). A multi-round playoff remains a game of chance even for elite teams.

It’s not hard to see where the Phillies’ success comes from. They’re hitting well, with Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm, Trea Turner and Bryson Stott posting an OPS+ of at least 135 (that’s 35% better than league average when adjusted for park). Kyle Schwarber, JT Realmuto and Brandon Marsh are also well above average.

The rotation has been one of the strongest in MLB, with Ranger Suarez rivaling Chicago Cubs sensation Shota Imanaga for the best numbers in the league. Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola are not far behind. The only area where they fall behind is the bullpen, which ranks 21st in the MLB with a 4.25 ERA.

The Phillies have historically been good in a weak schedule. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

This is a team that basically changed nothing from a 2023 unit that won 90 games and came within a game 7 of making the World Series. So far, they look even better.

Of course, there is still a major weapon left for the team’s detractors.

Here’s what Yahoo Sports’ Jake Mintz had to say about the Phillies’ schedule on Tuesday:

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

That’s an ultra-smooth Charmin schedule. Cozier than Egyptian cotton. Far from being a challenge. The smoothest navigation possible. But several things can be true at once: the schedule has been bad and the Phillies have been better.

One game later, not much has changed. The Phillies have faced the softest schedule in MLB and that doesn’t mean they are very good.

After losing a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies likely won’t be facing a superior team. 500 again until June 3, when they face the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers. Of course, some of those teams are .500 or below because they faced the Phillies. Like the Rangers, who were 24-24 when they began their current series in Philadelphia.

Elite teams should look elite against bad competition and the Phillies have looked elite so far this season. His +90 run differential is the best in MLB. If they take a step back when facing more rivals, they will still be a very good team.

For now, Philadelphia can enjoy one of the most entertaining teams in baseball and a six-game lead over the much-hyped Braves.

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