* Up next: The first-place Padres are at Citizens Bank Park tonight to begin a four-game series. Surprising San Diego has the best record in the National League. So are they a fluke? Probably not. Going back to last season, they're 69-46 (.600) in their last 115 games.

* Add Padres: The bullpen is San Diego's strength. The relievers have a 2.77 ERA and have allowed just 132 hits in 170 2/3 innings. Some say the unsung hero is bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who pitched for the Phillies in 1990 and 1991. He is a favorite of all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, and Bud Black believes he'd make a terrific pitching coach. "His day will come," the Padres manager says.

* Broadcast news: A tip of the cap to Comcast SportsNet. Instead of going to a commercial break in the middle of the ninth inning Saturday night from Florida, the cameras stayed with the action as Roy Halladay prepared to try to get the final three outs of his perfect game. Good stuff.

* Add broadcast news: The Phillies seemed to like Gary Matthews' "Jump in the Cadillac!" home-run call so much that they even displayed the catchphrase on Phanavision at times last season. But Sarge has noticeably avoided his signature call this year. Wonder whether the fact that Toyota is a big sponsor has anything to do with that?

* Sammy test: There are reports out of Baltimore that Orioles manager Dave Trembley will be fired today and replaced on an interim basis by popular former Phillies second baseman Juan Samuel, a member of the team's Wall of Fame. Not sure whether congratulations or condolences are appropriate here. The O's have the worst record in baseball. Then again, there's nowhere to go but up.

* All is forgiven: The Phillies announced yesterday that veteran outfielder Willy Taveras has been signed to a minor league contract. Taveras is a minor footnote in Phillies history. On Sept. 7, 2005, Billy Wagner came in to protect a 6-5 lead against the Astros at Veterans Stadium. He got two quick outs. Jose Vizcaino reached on an error. Then Taveras hit a grounder to shortstop that should have ended the game. Except that the speedy Taveras beat Jimmy Rollins' throw by a step. Craig Biggio followed with a game-winning homer. That turned out to be a big loss. The Phillies ended up missing the playoffs, finishing just one game behind Houston.