Phillies can’t afford to take Padres lightly

Charlie Manuel likes to say that it’s time to make hay when the Phillies are home. Well, the Phillies didn’t make hay when they blew three games against the Mets to start a stand at Citizens Bank Park.

Now Manuel, along with GM Ruben Amaro, have laid down the gauntlet, saying that everyone will be held accountable. The Phillies have to get their act together immediately.

The Padres, who will stop into town Friday night for a three-game set, appear to be the perfect tonic. The 8-21 Padres have the worst record in the NL. However, reliever Chad Qualls said to not take his former team lightly.

“You can’t take any team for granted, no matter how bad their record is,” Qualls said. “You have to be prepared. The Padres have some really good players. I know first-hand, since I played with them. We just have to go out there and play our best baseball.”

A new infusion of blood could help. According to recently demoted pitcher Michael Schwimer’s tweet, the Phillies will call up relievers Jake Diekman and Raul Valdes, along with slugger Hector Luna. The team doesn’t have to make an announcement until Friday, but Joe Savery has been sent to the minors, Laynce Nix might end up on the disabled list and Brian Sanches could be sent down or released.

Diekman, who was lights out during spring training, could be a nice addition for a scuffling bullpen. The intense southpaw has struck out 22 in 15 Triple-A innings.

The only Phillies reliever who has been able to consistently strike out batters is closer Jonathan Papelbon. The Phils desperately need a reliever who can put away a hitter via strikeout — and Diekman could be that guy.

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