Padres at Phillies Preview

The Padres will make their first visit to brand new Citizens Bank Park facing the Phils coming off a sweep of the struggling Dodgers, with a half game lead on the Marlins in the NL East. <br><br> While the Padres failed to sweep the Pirates after taking 6-0 lead in the final game of the series, thus are a mere .003 percentage points from 1st place in the NL West.

Game One

RHP Adam Eaton (1-4, 5.51) and RHP Kevin Millwood (4-2, 4.09)

To say that Eaton is in a funk is putting it mildly. In his last three starts, he has gone 0-3 and posted an ERA of 9.88. It is not his stuff, as one could argue he has the best stuff on the staff with a 96 mph fastball and a nasty curve that bends in at 69-75. He makes mental mistakes, such as grooving a heater to Moises Alou with 2 outs in a 0-2 count, too bad Alou is one of the better fastball hitters in the game. Bobby Abreu has had success against Eaton in limited ABs (3 for 10, 4 RBI).

Millwood is off to a decent start; his ERA would probably be in the neighborhood of 3.50 has it not been for his last start at Coors Field where he allowed 5 earned runs in 5 IP. The only thing that should concern Philly fans is his batting average against (BAA) is .291 which is not what you would expect from an ace. If Khalil Greene is still feeling a twinge in his groin, look for Ramon Vazquez to get the nod. The light hitting Vazquez has had success against Millwood, going 4 for 9 with a dinger.

Game Two

RHP Justin Germano (NR) and RHP Josh Hancock (NR)

The 21 year old Germano will make his major league debut. Germano has been on the fast track this season. After starting the season with AA Mobile where he went 2-1 with a 2.51 ERA, he was promoted to AAA Portland and in 3 games he went 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA. Kevin Towers has compared him to Jake Peavy, but Germano does not have his velocity.

With Randy Wolf missing a start due to tendonitis in his elbow, the Trenton Times reports that the Phillies will call up the 26 year old Hancock from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he went 4-3 with 3.60 ERA in 8 starts. Hancock is a guy that depends on his defense as he is not a strike out pitcher.

Game Three

RHP Brian Lawrence (6-2, 4.56) and RHP Vicente Padilla (3-4, 4.07)

Due to the postponement of the 1st game in the Pirates series, BLaw will be pitching on 3 days rest. Watch BLaw work his magic. I do not know how he does it, but he has been getting it done of late, with his BAA of .328 that is a TON of smoke and mirrors. His ability to escape is worthy of the late Harry Houdini.

Padilla was touched up for 6 runs in 7 IP against the Dodgers, including 3 HRs. This guy throws serious gas in the mid to upper 90s. Sometimes even Padilla becomes enamored with his fastball, completely forgetting about his slider, curve, or change. Regardless of what he is throwing, Padilla is a tough assignment. Ryan Klesko has had success against him in limited exposure.

Hitters to Watch

3-4-5. The fans have waited all season for the trio of Giles, Nevin, and Klesko to get hot as a unit. If the Padres are going to have a chance at winning the series, we will need more production.

Pat Burrell. After spending 2003 in the doghouse of ultra easy going manager Larry Bowa, Burrell has bounced back in a big way. He hit a paltry .209 last season. So far this year he is hitting .328 with 9 HRs and 36 RBIs, that is about half the production he had all of last season, plus he has been red hot over the last week (.462, 4 HR, 13 RBI).

Other Notes

Rod Beck was reportedly supposed to be activated this week, but at this point, that has not occurred. I would expect some shuffling of the roster very soon with the most likely candidate to be sent down or released being Eddie Oropesa.

Kim Lewis can be reached at

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