Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper and Brandon Marsh celebrate an early April win. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

After a four-game sweep of the Giants, culminating in a 5-1 win on Monday powered by Zack Wheeler’s seven one-run innings and Bryce Harper’s second three-run home run in as many days, the Phillies maintained their status as the best team in baseball.

Their 25-11 record is not only the best in the league, it is the second-best record in franchise history through their first 36 games, bested only by the 1976 and ‘93 Phillies, both of whom went 26-10.

Critics argue the Phils have built their early-season empire on the backs of the dregs of the league. To be fair, the schedule has been kind to the Phillies, as we knew it would be when the schedule dropped a few months ago. Things get much tougher in August and September when they play the majority of their games on the road against stiffer competition, and it’s why getting off to a fast start was so important.

The Phillies are banking wins against the soft underbelly of their schedule now so that they won’t be scrambling during the season’s final two months.

But make no mistake, the schedule has been favorable. Phillies’ opponents have a combined winning percentage of .458, 3rd-lowest in baseball. They lost two of three to the Braves in the first series of the season and since then, have not played a team that currently has a winning record.

Here’s the good news: that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

Up next for the Phils are the 16-19 Blue Jays for two games at home, then they travel to Miami for a three-game series against the 10-27 Marlins and a home-and-home four game set against the 17-18 Mets, followed by a three-game home series against the 17-17 Nationals. It isn’t until May 21 when the Phils host a three-game series against the defending world champion 20-16 Texas Rangers that they take on a team that currently has a winning record.

But here’s the thing. There really aren’t a whole lot of “good” teams right now, particularly in the National League.

The Dodgers, at 24-13, are obviously awesome. Even though they were swept by the Dodgers in L.A. last weekend and are without their ace Spencer Strider, the 20-12 Braves are still excellent as well. The Phillies are on a tier with both those clubs, along with the 23-13 Orioles, 23-13 Yankees and 23-12 Guardians.

Outside of that, the rest of the league is all wandering in some middle ground desert. The Cubs’ starting rotation has been amazing and has powered their 21-15 record. I’m not sure how the Brewers are 20-14 with their decimated starting rotation. The defending NL champion Diamondbacks are struggling at 15-20, we just saw how mediocre the Padres and Giants are, and the Pirates, Reds and Cardinals are basic.

When the Phils have to navigate the American League East, they’ll see a witch’s brew of competence. The Red Sox and Rays both have solid clubs, while Toronto is off to a slow start but has some talent. The Twins, Royals and Tigers are all over .500, with Cleveland and Kansas City both looking legit.

But you get my point. We discussed it at length on the latest Hittin’ Season podcast:

YouTube video

The bottom line is you can only play the teams on your schedule. And because Major League Baseball has adopted a balanced schedule, everyone plays virtually the same schedule. It WILL all even out.

So yes, praise the Phillies for taking advantage of the bad teams, and it’s fair to expect they won’t win 70% of their games when the schedule gets tougher. In the meantime, enjoy watching the hottest team in baseball do their thing, and don’t stress about another shoe getting ready to drop.

John Stolnis grew up in Delco as a rabid fan of all Philadelphia sports, but the Phillies have always held a special place in his heart, particularly those disappointing Juan Samuel-led teams of the late...