Since Sunday's loss to the Cubs, Phillies phollowers have been in a holding pattern. Monday was an off day for the team, and the general consensus was that it would be a good day for Ed Wade and David Montgomery to dismiss Larry Bowa (or in some phanatics minds of all of the Phillies brass to fire everyone everywhere). And if you were like the staff at Balls, Sticks, & Stuff, you checked several times to find out if the proverbial hatchet(s) fell. There must be something wrong at ESPN.com, there is no news on Bowa...OK, hit refresh...Still no news? Lets go to Sportsline.com...Nothing there either? Is this thing on?!?! Alas, Monday came and went without any news. Most media types seem to think that how the Phillies fare on the final legs of the current road trip will decide Bowa's fate. We shall see.
Regardless of who is the Phillies manager, be it Bowa or Charlie Manuel, or a resurrected Paul Owens, the Phillies must take - at the very least - 2 of 3 games from the Padres in order to have a chance of catching the Braves for the NL East title, their best chance at making the playoffs. During the series, the Padres will send Brian Lawrence (11-7 W-L, 3.79 ERA), a t0-be-announced pitcher for Wednesday, and Adam Eaton (6-9, 4.70) to the mound, respectively, while the Phillies come to Brett Meyers (5-8, 5.60), Eric Milton (11-2, 4.64), and Kevin Millwood (9-6, 4.80) in their rotation. Comparing offensive and pitching performances for these two teams is quite tricky, given the effects of each teams new stadium. The Padres new PETCO Park is cavernous, while the Phillies equally new Citizen's Bank Park seems to make pitchers uncomfortable (even though no one is quite sure what its true size is).
The Padres series is extra important for the Phillies as the teams are close in the wild card standings. The Phillies have to play catch-up in both the NL East race and the Wild Card race, and winning some games over the next couple of days would improve the Phillies standing in both. Additionally, this series and the next, against the Dodgers, could very well seal the fates of Larry Bowa and Joe Kerrigan.