Results tagged ‘ Ryan Madson ’

Despite Crazy Plays, A Familiar Theme in Loss

It’s not every day you see sideways rain at Citizens Bank Park.

The rain turned out to be one of the least interesting things that happened in last night’s 4-3 loss to the Cubs in 11 innings.

Ryan Madson blew his first save in 15 opportunities. Instant replay overturned one of Madson’s home runs, which kept the game tied. (If you’re a fan sitting in the front row don’t you have to say to yourself, “OK, I’m in the front row. If there’s a ball coming my way I should probably back out of the way because I don’t want to become Philly’s version of Steve Bartman?”) David Herndon hit with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th. (He struck out.) Carlos Ruiz had a rare passed ball to allow the winning run to move to second base in the 11th. Herndon fired a ball into center field on a pickoff attempt, but Tyler Colvin did not advance to third on the play. Placido Polanco had a rare throwing error to allow the winning run to score with two outs.

All sorts of nutiness, but once again the offense came up short. The Phillies did not score after Jimmy Rollins hit a three-run homer in the second inning. They were hitless from the fifth through ninth innings.

Madson blew the save and Herndon took the loss, but the offense continued its struggles.


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Madson Making His Case to Close

We’ve talked plenty lately about the shortcomings of the Phillies offense, so let’s take a look this morning at Ryan Madson‘s performance in the bullpen.

He’s 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA and seven saves in seven opportunities. He has allowed 10 hits, one run, seven walks (three intentional walks) and has struck out 22 in 17 innings. Opponents have hit .167 against him.

He’s done the job.

So what happens if Jose Contreras comes back next week?

So what happens if Brad Lidge comes back next month?

Contreras went 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and five saves in five opportunities before he went on the DL. He allowed four hits, four walks and struck out nine in eight innings. Lidge hasn’t pitched since last season, but went 0-0 with a 0.73 ERA and 17 saves in 18 opportunities from Aug. 1 through the end of the regular season.

The Phillies would be incredibly fortunate to have Lidge, Madson and Contreras healthy and pitching effectively at the same time. But even if the planets align perfectly I think it’d be hard to move Madson from the ninth inning. Contreras did a fine job early, but Madson has been overpowering. And it will have been roughly eight months since Lidge last threw a pitch in a big-league game, if he returns next month. I’m not sure the Phillies want to just drop him back into the ninth inning.

“It will be a tough decision, but I think it’ll work itself out,” Charlie Manuel said. “I think when [Madson is] pitching like that, he kind of makes it tough right now to move him. What would be the point?”



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Big Truck to DL

The Phillies found themselves in a save situation today at PETCO Park, but Jose Contreras never picked up a baseball.

He might not pick up a baseball for a long time.

Contreras has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right flexor pronator tendon, which is located on the inside part of the elbow. He will fly tomorrow from Phoenix to Philadelphia, where Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti will examine him tomorrow evening or Tuesday morning. A MRI exam is not scheduled, but is a possibility.

The Phillies selected right-hander Michael Stutes’ contract from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his spot on the roster.

Right-hander Ryan Madson will close for the foreseeable future.

“Yeah, I’m alarmed,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Anytime a guy goes on the DL it bothers me. Hopefully it isn’t serious. He’s sore. He was a little better yesterday and a little more sore today. Hopefully we’ll have good news.”

Read the entire story here.


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Oswalt Gets Creative, Makes Up Pitch

Roy Oswalt found himself in a ridiculously long at-bat against Jorge Cantu in the fourth inning last night at PETCO Park.

How long was it?

So long that Oswalt threw a new pitch to get himself out of it. Here’s how the at-bat went:

  1. 90, sinker, called strike
  2. 81, changeup, swinging strike
  3. 80, changeup, ball
  4. 91, sinker, foul
  5. 66, curveball, foul
  6. 80, changeup, foul
  7. 92, sinker, foul
  8. 81, changeup, foul
  9. 92, sinker, foul
  10. 93, sinker, foul
  11. 79, changeup, foul
  12. 61, curveball, ball
  13. 93, sinker, foul
  14. 80, slider, swinging strike

“I usually throw a slider one way and I threw it a different way,” said Oswalt, showing his normal grip and the grip he used in the final pitch to Cantu. “I spiked it.”


Charlie Manuel said Ryan Madson couldn’t pitch last night because of “soreness.” Madson said he just got a day off after pitching four times in six days. (He was not happy having to answer questions about the “soreness” after the game.) Manuel said Madson likely would be available tonight. The Phillies certainly hope so. It seems the Phillies can stomach losing Chase Utley more than they can lose Madson or Jose Contreras right now. … Oswalt said he had no back issues last night, although Manuel said his velocity was a tick below normal. Worth watching.


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Almost Home …

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for contreras 01.jpgHola, amigos.

I’ve been blog-less since Friday morning because of a conversion to new blog software. But the conversion didn’t work as planned, which left me unable to post. I apologize for that. But we went back to the old software for the next 24 hours or so, which should allow me to post through tomorrow’s Grapefruit League finale at Bright House Field.

I want to mention a few things before the Zo Zone goes dark again:

The Phillies have not named a closer to replace Brad Lidge, but my guess is Jose Contreras gets the nod. Why? It’s just the feeling I get from being in camp the past few days. Rich Dubee also sounds like he wants to keep Madson in the eighth inning, where he has thrived. I asked Dubee yesterday if he thought Madson was better prepared to close this season than previous seasons.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “Ryan Madson is Ryan Madson. What did he do? Take a crash course in how to close? We’re in Spring Training here. … I think the game speeds up on him sometimes. He doesn’t get to the same comfort level. There’s a little anxiety there. The ninth inning is a little different than the eighth. There have been a solid eighth-inning guys that haven’t been able to pitch the ninth. One day they learn how to do it.”


The Mad Dog Sushi Roll

You know you’ve made it when you’re a sandwich or a sushi roll.

Sadly, I’m not either, but Ryan Madson is a sushi roll at Zama.

(Been to Zama. It’s good.)

A part of the proceeds go to a children’s charity.

If I had a sushi roll, I might put grouper on top. There was a place on Clearwater Beach that had garlic grouper on top of a California roll. It was very, very good. Sadly, it has closed and is now a hot dog joint. Now that I think about it, maybe it wasn’t so good.


Dallas Green is being enshrined tonight in the Delaware Legends Basketball Hall of Fame.


Crossing Broad has a look at last night’s episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which featured cameos from Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. … Yes, still plugging my book signings tonight and tomorrow. Come one, come all! … I’ve got a new Facebook page, where I’ll post stories, blogs, thoughts, etc. Check it out here. (If you’re a friend on my other Facebook page make sure to switch over because the other one is closing its doors soon. … Follow me on Twitter.

Two More Steps to Go

nlds 2010 celebration.jpg

Cole Hamels pumped his fist and high-fived a few teammates before he coolly headed to the visitor’s clubhouse last night at Great American Ball Park.

There would be no pile up on the field.

The Phillies hope that comes later.

“We know what we’re trying to do here,” Jayson Werth said following their victory over the Reds in Game 3 of the NLDS. “We’ve got two more celebrations.”

The Phillies swept the Reds to advance to their third consecutive NLCS, which begins Saturday at Citizens Bank Park against the Giants or Braves.

“To be honest it feels like we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” Brad Lidge said. “This is an incredible run we’re on, but we feel like this is what we need to be doing. This is what we should be doing.”

The Phillies popped a few bottles of champagne after the game, but they kept things relatively calm. Things have changed since they won their first NL East championship in 14 years in 2007. The Rockies swept them in the 2007 NLDS, so they went a little crazy when they beat the Brewers in four games in the 2008 NLDS.

That victory over the Brewers represented a gigantic hurdle.

They have cleared that hurdle a few times now.

“We’re a veteran group of guys,” Werth said. “We weren’t always that way. As much time as we spend together and the type of guys we have on this team, I would say that’s what you can expect from us, you know?”


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Madson Loose Before Game 3

madson mask.jpg

A little behind-the-scenes access for y’all:

MLB has press conferences before every postseason game and workout. Charlie Manuel attends one every day. (He loves it!) The Phillies usually bring in the next day’s starting pitcher, a key everyday player or somebody else who’s a hot story.

The press conference are helpful for reporters because we have no clubhouse access before games like we have during the season. But sometimes they can be a little boring. We’ve asked just about everything we can ask of these guys. They’ve answered the same questions a million times. We know this. They know this. But people are baseball crazy right now, so we’ve got to feed the beast.

So thank goodness Sunday for Ryan Madson and Chad Durbin.

Madson entered the press conference wearing a mask that looked like a little similar to Miguel Cairo. Durbin played straight man. Madson played funny man.

“I’ve been wearing it every day to the playoffs, so I had to wear it again today,” Madson said.

I asked Madson an important question: When does he wear the mask? Certain times? Certain moments?

“Hot tub is where it debuted,” Madson said. “That was cool. But the first guy that walked in was Charlie Manuel and he shook his head. But I kept with it. The guys encouraged me, and I guess my favorite place to wear it would be probably the shower.”

I wrote a week ago about how Carlos Ruiz is perhaps the most well-liked guy in the clubhouse, but Madson got a ton of votes in my highly unscientific poll. Madson is extremely well-liked because of his sense of humor.

“I knew it was (Madson),” Manuel said, asked if he knew who it was in the hot tub. “I saw Chooch (Carlos Ruiz) with it on, too.”


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Shades of 2009

lidge 0731 2010.jpg

Brad Lidge‘s blown save tonight in a 7-5 loss to the Nationals stirred more memories of his nightmarish 2009, when he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and 31 saves in 42 opportunities (73.8 percent). But Charlie Manuel wasted no time in his post game news conference telling folks Lidge is his guy.

“He’s our closer,” he said. “We’ve been working with him now for two years. I guess right now we’ve got to keep continuing to work with him. He has his moments.”

Lidge, who is 1-1 with a 5.57 ERA and 10 saves in 14 opportunities (71.4 percent) this season, allowed a leadoff single to Michael Morse and walked Adam Kennedy with one out when he threw a 92 mph fastball to Ryan Zimmerman, who crushed the ball to center field for a three-run home run to win the game. Lidge said he shook off catcher Carlos Ruiz to throw the 2-1 pitch inside because he had success with that pitch against Zimmerman in the past.

Manuel said the Phillies have to keep working with Lidge. Why?

“Because that’s what we’ve got,” Manuel said.

The Phillies picked up Astros ace Roy Oswalt before today’s non-waiver trade deadline, but did not address a bullpen that entered the night ranked 10th in the National League with a 4.11 ERA. The Minnesota Twins got Nationals closer Matt Capps (3-3, 2.74 ERA, 26 saves) before the deadline, although it required their top prospect. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Octavio Dotel (2-2, 4.28 ERA, 21 saves) from the Pittsburgh Pirates for two players. (Had the Phillies not traded Cliff Lee, perhaps they could have swung a prospect or two to get somebody like Capps or Dotel, right?)

Internal options? Ryan Madson has struggled as a closer, converting 18 of 24 save opportunities in his career. The Phillies said Danys Baez could be an option when they signed him to a two-year, $5.25 million contract, but he is 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA and has not pitched recently in many close situations. Jose Contreras might be the best option. He is 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA and three saves in three opportunities this year as closer.

“I hear you guys say that for two (gosh darn) years,” said Manuel, when asked about Madson. “I hear this and that, this and that. What the hell? We try this guy. We try that guy. We try this guy. Then I hear you bitch to me sometimes about their roles: ‘Guys don’t know their roles.’ I can go on all night now. Let’s just drop it right there.”

Lidge’s fastball this season has averaged just 92.5 mph, according to That is the lowest average of his career. His fastball averaged 93.6 mph in 2009, 94.3 mph in 2008 and 95.2 mph or better from 2004-07 with the Houston Astros. As his fastball has lost velocity, so has the separation in mph between his fastball and slider. He had 7.8 mph of separation between his fastball and slider this season, 8.2 mph in 2009 and 9.2 mph in 2008.

“I’m a guy that in the past has thrown 95, 96,” Lidge said. “This year I’m learning to pitch with a little bit less on my fastball. You don’t want to pay too much attention to it because you want to execute your pitches … it’s something I’ve got to learn to pitch with.”

Lidge, who had offseason elbow and knee surgeries, said he is not sure why his velocity is down, but said he is healthy.

“I don’t feel hurt or anything,” he said. “To me it’s not something I’m going to make a big deal of. It’s something I need to be able to pitch with. My rehab outings all the way through, it’s kind of stayed the same. If it’s not going to get back to the 94, 95 as it has in the past, then I’ve got to pitch with what I’ve got.”


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Moyer Gets Rocked, Worst Start of Career

Jamie Moyer suffered the worst start of his career tonight at Fenway Park, allowing nine hits, nine runs, one walk and one home run in one-plus inning.

Moyer had not pitched this poorly since he pitched for the Seattle Mariners and allowed 11 runs in 3 2/3 innings Aug. 9, 2000, against the Chicago White Sox.

It was the third time a Phillies starter had allowed nine or more runs in one or fewer innings since 1951. It was the first time it happened since April 20, 2006, when Ryan Madson allowed nine runs in one inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Ben Rivera allowed nine runs in one inning July 9, 1993, against the San Francisco Giants at Veterans Stadium.

Moyer allowed six doubles and one home run as the Phillies entered the third inning down nine runs.


The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!