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HS 195: The Phillies’ schedule will soon turn from brutal to beautiful

On Episode 195 of “Hittin’ Season,” host John Stolnis talks about a much easier schedule for the Phils once they get through the nightmare of June.

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It’s no secret the Phillies’ schedule this month has been brutally tough, and is no doubt part of the reason why the team is 4-8 this month.

They were swept in San Francisco at the start of the month, outscored 12-1. They lost two out of three to the Cubs in Chicago, and then came home and lost two of three to the Brewers, being outscored in that series 27-11.

However, the Phillies rebounded with a series victory against the Rockies this week, their first series victory since taking two out of three from Atlanta May 21-23. They now travel to Milwaukee to play the red-hot Brewers (41-27) for another three games, come back home for a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals (36-30), travel to Washington (37-28) for a three-game set against the Nats, then come home to finish off the month with three against the New York Yankees (43-20) and three against the Nationals once again.

It’s a gauntlet, to be sure. But if the Phillies can somehow, in some way, hold it together and finish the month within a game or two of .500, they have a chance to get well against some of the worst teams in baseball in July and early August.

The Phils play a quick, two-game Independence Day mid-week series against the Baltimore Orioles who, at 19-48, have the worst record in baseball. They then travel to Pittsburgh for three games against the Pirates (33-35), who have fallen on hard times. They travel to New York for four games against the sinking Mets (28-36), one of them a doubleheader, return to Baltimore for a make-up game against the O’s and then travel to southern Florida for a three-game series against Miami (26-42).

The team then gets a much-needed rest at the All Star Break, but when they come back, the easy schedule continues. They host the San Diego Padres (33-37) for three games, then get a resurgent L.A. Dodger team (35-32) at Citizens Bank Park for three, followed by a trip to Cincinnati (25-43) to take on the lowly Reds in a four-gamer.

As the calendar flips to August, the Phils play a two-game series in Boston (47-22), then host Miami for four, travel to Arizona (37-30) for three games and San Diego for three, host the Red Sox for two games, then play a five-game series against the Mets.

That’s 41 games in which there are just three opponents, four against the Red Sox, three against the Dodgers, and three against the Diamondbacks, that currently have a winning record.

All told, their July-early August opponents have a combined winning percentage of .465 that is largely skewed by the Red Sox’ ridiculous record.

Once the crucible of June is in the rear view mirror, their schedule eases up considerably. If the Phillies are still in a decent position to make a playoff run, that schedule could go a long way to helping Phils management decide how far they should push in their chips at the trade deadline this summer.

On Episode 195, host John Stolnis also talks with Russell Carleton, noted expert of defensive shifting for Baseball Prospectus, who has a new book entitled, “The Shift.” We talk about the mental hiccups involved with defensive shifting and whether or not it’s actually helping teams like the Phillies.

Also on the podcast, a full recap of the Phils-Rockies series, the return of “good” Rhys Hoskins, a Phillies offense that finally hit on Thursday, and the need to get Seranthony Dominguez some help in the ‘pen.

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