Phillies’ schedule in May is as difficult as it gets

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Phillies’ May schedule pits them against MLB’s best for nearly a month originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies were off Monday for the first time since April 16, and from there, May 16 is their only off day until June 2. Lots of games in a condensed timeframe — every team knew what to expect once the lockout ended.

The rest of May is filled with difficult matchups for Joe Girardi’s club, which is 11-12 and has lost five of its seven series. The Phils took two of three from the A’s at home on opening weekend and swept the Rockies in four games at home last week but have gone 5-11 otherwise.

The Phillies have a six-game homestand this week that begins Tuesday with a quick two-game series against the Texas Rangers. After that, the Phils host the Mets for four games, meaning 10 of their 19 head-to-head meetings will be played by May 6 and only six games remain after May 29.

The Phillies then head out West for a week — three games in Seattle followed by four at Dodger Stadium. The Phils are off the day after that trip, but the ensuing homestand could be just as challenging with the Padres and Dodgers coming to town for three games apiece.

And after that grueling two-week stretch, what do the Phillies get? They get to go on an important NL East road trip for four games in Atlanta and three more in New York.

They close out the month at home with Gabe Kapler’s Giants.

To recap: 24 of the Phillies’ next 29 games are against the Dodgers, Braves, Mets, Padres and Giants.

The Dodgers, Mets, Padres and Giants own four of the five best records in the National League. The Braves, who welcomed back Ronald Acuña Jr. this week, are the reigning champs. Even the Mariners, who added Robbie Ray, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez this winter, have the fifth-best record in the AL.

June appears to be a softer month for the Phillies with twice as many days off (four) and 10 games against the Nationals, Diamondbacks and Rangers. Though any close observer of the Phillies in recent years would tell you they have not done their part against inferior competition.

It’s still far too early to use a word like “must,” but the Phillies could really use a quick two-game sweep over the Rangers leading into the Mets series this weekend. Texas is the weakest team on the Phillies’ schedule between now and June 10 and the Phils have an opportunity to get themselves back over .500.

Ranger Suarez and Zack Wheeler will start Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The Phils will then have every starting pitcher except Wheeler against the Mets, while they’ll be granted the reprieve of not having to face Tylor Megill again.