So far, filling in for the No. 2 pitcher in the rotation hasn't seemed to faze 23-year-old lefthander Antonio Bastardo.
Bastardo, called up from Lehigh Valley the day before the Phillies' recent 10-game road trip after Brett Myers went on the disabled list as a result of hip surgery, won both his starts, in San Diego and Los Angeles.
Tonight, he'll make his debut at Citizens Bank Park against the Boston Red Sox and struggling Daisuke Matsuzaka.
"I believe he'll do OK. He's got talent. He's got a chance," manager Charlie Manuel said before last night's series opener. "So far, he's really kept his composure real good. He hasn't gotten hit yet, but he's got good stuff."
In 11 innings, Bastardo has a 2.45 earned run average with nine strikeouts.
Madson no surprise
Manuel said the key to Ryan Madson's emergence as an effective reliever was that the righthander learned to use his fastball to set up his change-up rather than vice versa.
Madson has two saves in two opportunities since closer Brad Lidge went on the disabled list. The velocity of his fastball increased as last season evolved. By the stretch run, he was ensconced as Lidge's setup man.
"His fastball has gotten better, and that makes the separation on his change-up a lot better," Manuel said.
"His slider is also better, and it's starting to break much better and he's got command of it," the manager said. "With his talent and experience, that's why I think he can close. I think what he's doing now he can continue because he has that kind of talent."
The Tampa Bay Rays got a little payback on the Phillies for losing the World Series to them.
The Rays enforced a licensing agreement that bans bobblehead giveaways of Phillies players at games played in Clearwater, which has a Phillies single-A team.
The licensing agreement prohibits the use of other Major League Baseball brands by minor-league teams within the Tampa television market.
The Clearwater Threshers have already had two bobblehead giveaways, featuring Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. Ironically, last night's bobblehead doll was to feature designated hitter Pat Burrell, who was activated off the 15-day disabled list Thursday after missing 29 games with a strained neck.
Burrell signed a two-year contract with Tampa Bay after playing eight seasons with the Phillies. He was hitting .250 with one home run and 17 RBIs in 30 games before injuring his neck on May 11.