One ominous lesson to take from an otherwise uneventful 3-0 victory over the Padres Thursday night: the Phillies could be in serious trouble if Ryan Madson or Jose Contreras suffer an injury.

Madson was unavailable to pitch last night because of what manager Charlie Manuel termed "soreness." Manuel stressed that Madson was not injured. He threw 21 pitches against the Brewers on Tuesday, his third appearance in four days and his fourth in six days.

"Madson was sore," Manuel said. "He'd been out there three out of four. He was a little sore. Yesterday, he really let loose the ball."

Madson declined to talk about his physical health after the game, other than to curtly say, "I'm fine. I took a day off."

The Phillies should hope he is correct, because Madson's absence highlighted the lack of depth the team has at the front end of its bullpen. If not for a clutch four-out effort from lefthander Antonio Bastardo, who stranded the bases loaded in the seventh before pitching a scoreless eighth, their 3-0 lead could have been in serious jeopardy. After Bastardo allowed a single to leadoff off the eighth, righthander Kyle Kendrick began warming in the bullpen. Kendrick, a starter for most of his career, would have been pitching in a save situation for the first time as a major leaguer. He also would have been pitching on back to back days for just the second time in his career.

But Bastardo came through, retiring four the six batters he faced to set up Jose Contreras for his fifth consecutive save. Contreras has now recorded saves in each of the Phillies last two games and has pitched on four of the last five days.

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