Bowie's follies are supposed to begin here Wednesday, but the forecast is gloomy enough to make even the commissioner downcast: "Windy, and colder, with a 90 percent chance of rain and a good possibility of snow in the higher elevations."

Presumably, "higher elevations" do not include the upper deck of Olympic Stadium, but who knows? -- Montreal has never experienced postseason play before.

"Bowie will probably show up where it's sunny," said Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green as he watched his players take warmup swings in a batting cage housed in a dank tunnel under the stadium.

"The only consolation to losing," said a player who requested anonymity, "would be to see Kuhn sitting outside in October in his blue blazer with snow coming down on his shoulders."

The weather will be a factor when the Expos meet the Phillies in the first game of the National League East Division playoff at 1 p.m. Although some say it works to the advantage of the "seasoned" Expos, Steve Rogers (12-8, 3.41), who faces Steve Carlton (13-4, 2.42), disagrees. "The weather's overrated. It can effect games negatively but it has the potential to do it evenly. How do you get used to bitter cold?"

Rogers also says "momentum is overrated." But the fact remains that the Expos, who did not capture a place in the playoffs until last weekend, come into the series perspiring. The Phillies played a lethargic second half, finishing 25-27 only because they won eight of their last 12.

Bob Boone, the Phillie catcher (whose place in the starting lineup has gone to Keith Moreland), said, "Montreal finished hot, similar to the way we played last year (when the Phillies beat the Expos two out of three in Montreal to win the division title). Those theories about what's better -- momentum or rest -- should be borne out in this series."

Jim Fanning, who supplanted Dick Williams as Expo manager Sept. 8, said, "We've had to play every game the last two weeks as if there was no tomorrow. Andre Dawson had to make those shoestring catches and Gary Carter had to throw out those runners and Jeff Reardon and Woody Fryman had to get everybody out."

Montreal also had to get something out of its system and into the open. About a week after Fanning took over, he held a clubhouse meeting that Rogers said "wasn't a classic," but was necessary. It brought home "the realization that the fundamentals of the game took precedence over anybody's personal feelings," Rogers said.

"It created some rancor when it was voiced in a team meeting but it acted as a catalyst. Have I, am I, acting like that? . . . a pitcher being taken out, and he shows it; a hitter going out for a pinch hitter . . . Everyone knows you don't want it (to happen) but no one needs to see it.

"Whether it was from that meeting or a coincidence of the team jelling, regardless, we all decided we each have a job to do, and if we win by doing it, that will be our reward."

Right now, as Rogers put it, "We've won something but not much. All we've done is assure ourselves of third place in the National League East, which is less than the last two years.

"The jury is still out. It's out on us as players, on him (Fanning) as a manager and on the organization for making the move."

Green scoffed at the notion that speculation about his potential move to the Chicago Cubs next season or Fanning's managerial inexperience would be a factor in the series. "It's up to the athletes," he said. "They're the ones getting paid $1 million. Let 'em earn it."

The Phillies didn't earn much during the second season. "Sometimes, we're like a light bulb," said Green. "We think we can turn it on and turn it off. I hope we've gotten that out of our minds . . . For a while, we only had Rose (.325) and Schmidt (.316, 31 home runs, 91 RBI) hitting at all. I inserted Lonnie Smith in the lineup. Bake (McBride) came back and hit and (Larry) Bowa had one stretch that was super. We've hit consistently the last three weeks. But sometimes we still get into that light bulb thing; score 12 runs one day, none the next."

The key is whether the Phillies' hitting (.273) will be able to overcome the Expos' depth in their starting pitching and the Phillies' lack of it. The Expos have a team ERA of 3.30, compared with the Phillies' 4.04. The Expos have Rogers, Bill Gullickson (7-9, 2.81), Bill Lee (5-6, 2.93), Ray Burris (9-7, 3.04) and Scott Sanderson (9-7, 2.96).

The Phillies have Carlton, Dick Ruthven (12-7, with a 5.14 ERA) and no answer to the question: who starts the third game?

"We have to get to their starting pitching," said Rose. "Their relief men are short men, Woody Fryman and Jeff Reardon. If we can get to 'em early, we can take away their running game."

Green says he is satisfied that his ailing pitchers -- Tug McGraw and Larry Christenson -- "are ready to go." Still, when someone motioned toward Tom Seaver, the National League's pitcher with the most wins this year, working as a commentator for NBC, and said, "Hey, Dallas, we've drafted him," Green's smile was anything but enigmatic.