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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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Brad Lidge, we need YOU.

That is the saddest sentence I have written all day.

Goliath, that is sad. sadder than "Ryan Madson sh!t the bed - again."

If you truly believe that we need Brad Lidge, you should not be sad. Because we will have Brad Lidge soon. Horribly, horribly soon.

MG- (from last thread): sorry, I should have defined the term 'bum,' at least in terms of relief pitching.

I said to me, personally, he is a 'bum.' To me, bum = guy who can't get it done when the chips are down, i.e. the ninth inning.

If you showed me his stats in save situations vs. non-save situations, my guess is you would see a remarkable difference. Unfortunately I'm too lazy and inebriated to look it up. Maybe you could englighten me on how remarkable the difference is, because, as someone who has probably seen 95% of Madson's appearances in save situations (9th inning, not including the World Series game-tying bomb to Baldelli in the 7th), for the life of me it seems like he blows it 50% of the time with a relatively decent sample size.

To me, that = bum. Sorry if that's just as unreasonable to you as "20 year-old prospect will have a better year that Ryan Howard."

Adding: I think maybe the reason Madson was getting a free pass last year is because everyone was looking to put Lidge's head on a stick and replace him with Charlie f'ing Brown if they had to. Now with no Lidge to kick around anymore (for now), and Madson having built up zero track record of success, everyone has predictably turned on him.

Amen on Baseball.

If Iceman says a Phillie is a bum, he's probably a bum. The guy has the longest rope of any Beerleaguer. Still, I'm giving Bulldog Madson a chance to see May before I make such a judgment. Of course, I didn't see the game tonight so I must abstain. I can guarantee yo the Pirates were worse. I wish Charlie Morton was going to be here in July.

Madson in save situations: 4 IP, 3 ER
Madson in nonsave situations: 3 IP, 3 ER

For the 900th damn time, MVPTommy's roles theory has no basis in reality. Madson has been awful in every situation this year.

DH Phils - I'm on the same page. shocking but not a mortal sin for Madson.

(From Previous Thread)

I don't know if Madson's a bum, but he's certainly gotten a much better reputation than he deserves. Aside from a single, shining half-season of brilliance in '08 his entire career has been slightly above mediocre. Bringing him into a close ball game, be it in the 8th or the 9th, has always been a coin flip. It's nice that he has great "stuff" & all, but I'd rather see less "stuff" & more production.

I'm a Braves fan and I have nothing but respect for Philly...We were on the ropes tonight due to Kendrick's pitching. The Phillies aren't at full strength yet and they dominated ATL almost all game long.

It is pretty hard to argue now with how Madson has done in his career as a closer. He just hasn't gotten the job done the last few years (16 saves, 20 blown saves in his career). He also has been pretty poor this year for a couple of reasons including not throwing enough first-pitching strikes, throwing too many cutters/curves, and just making too many mistake pitches.

Still, he is an important point of the pen. He has been prone to stretches like this before where he looks like dog $hit for a couple of appearances.

Sadly this puts them back into the exact same position they were in last year - hoping and praying that Lidge can get the job done.

I'm not trying to defend Madson - he's pitched poorly, letting the Washington game get out of reach (which killed when Victorino hit the home run in the bottom of the 9th), and letting Cole's inherited runner score on Sunday, giving away an insurance run. His performance tonight is obviously unacceptable. But to say that he's performing poorly because he doesn't have the mental capacity to close games is ridiculous because in 2010, he's actually pitched better in the save situations, even after including tonight. He's given up runs in 1 of his 4 save-situation appearances (3 ER in 4 IP), as opposed to 2 of his 3 non-save-situation appearances (3 ER in 3 IP). This "theory" that he doesn't have a closer mentality can't hide behind small sample sizes like it did last year, because even in the small sample size of 7 appearances, the evidence is against it.

The only thing sadder than our backup closer somehow sucking worse than our sucky closer is having it analyzed by Mitch Williams on the MLB Network.

Hugh: I agree that Madson should be given until May, if only because there aren't other options. Is Cholly gonna put Baez in the 9th after he just gave away a game vs. the Nats? Contreras after his HR to the first batter he faces tonight? There's just nowhere else to go, and as much as I hate to use the term, Madson's got the best 'stuff.'

Still, it just seems like this guy has been giving games away whenever he gets the chance since '08. I probably do have the longest rope of any BL, as regretfully evidenced by my continued support of Lidge as the closer last year. But the difference with Lidge is he has a track record of success. Madson's track record consists of taking massive dumps on the mound in important situations.

I may be the only Phillie Phan here, or anywhere, that is actually excited for Lidge to come back. Not because I think the guy is gonna be 2008 Brad Lidge, but because he MIGHT give us SOMETHING. Even if he gives us nothing, that's no more or less than we're getting right now.

First off, Kudos to KK tonight. Just like he did as a rookie, he came up big when many were doubting him and gave the team a big boost. Its a damn shame he has nothing to show for that effort.

Madson is NOT a closer. I thought he proved that last year. Some guys are and some guys aren't. He ain't.

He's a pretty good 8th inning guy. But he doesn't have the makeup to be the 9th inning guy.

Just like last year, this team DOES NOT have a closer. And the mismatch of old guys in the rest of the pen, are a mystery at this point. Baez seems to already have lost Chuckles confidence. And Contreras has very little bullpen experience. Romero (when he comes back) is still wild. Bastardo is very young and inexpeirenced out of the pen.

Herndon could be getting more high-pressure situations very soon. By a process of elimination, he will have "earned" a chance.

And why not just start grooming Scott Mathieson at AAA. His time is coming soon...

I basically agree with DH Phils.

Also, the save/blown save argument is completely misleading, because an 8th inning guy can get charged with a blown save but cannot be credited with a save (he gets a hold instead).

In actual save situations last year, Madson was 10 for 14. In 2008, he was 1 for 1. In 2006, he was 2 for 2. In 2004 he was 1 for 1. This year he is 3 for 4.

Using the save/blown save statistic honestly, he is 17 for 21 in his career saving games.

17 for 22 - added wrong

DH Phils: I strongly disagree with the 'mentality' argument. I have seen him come through in some tough spots, and despite the DITHL argument, I think he looks fine out there as far as composure goes. He throws strikes; most closers with a 'shaky' mentality can't find the strike zone.

The reason I think he's a bum is pretty much exactly what MG said regarding pitch selection: in certain situations, specifically in the 9th, his pitch selection is HORRIFIC and apparently an off-season hasn't made it better. And of course some of the blame is on Ruiz for that, but as a veteran pitcher you have to shake the catcher off and say "No, THIS is how we can get this guy out."

First thing a friend said to me after strike 1 to Heyward is "Keep burying the change in the dirt and he'll chase it." Then Wheels says "No reason to throw one middle-in." Madson promptly throws a change-up middle-in. What???

Difference with Lidge is that when he gets strike one, he goes to the slider and he BURIES it more times than not. Madson has hung one too many pitches in the zone- be it a cutter, change, whatever- for anyone to claim that it's a coincidence. He tries to be a different pitcher in the ninth, it appears. And it's just stupid.

So it's not mental weakness. It's stupidity. He (and Chooch, apparently) are stupid enough to go away from what works with Madson, time and time again, when it matters most. That's a track record of failure, and as much as I want to root for the guy, this is becoming an unignorable trend.

I hate the word "bum."

BobbyD: sorry. I'll change it to a synonym: "choke-artist."

"The only thing sadder than our backup closer somehow sucking worse than our sucky closer is having it analyzed by Mitch Williams on the MLB Network."

Philistine: Thanks for the laugh; I needed it badly. :-) Now if they could only figure out a way to work Jose Mesa into the equation it would be a perfect storm of closer implosion ...

A very disappointing finish tonight. But if anyone wants to check my entries on the subject of "The Closer" going back now several years my position remains unchanged: Unless you have a lights out cold blooded bona fide closer like Rivera or Lidge of two seasons ago, the best remedy is to put in the best pitcher for the situation. It is definitely not Madson in Atlanta where last year he had an ERA of over 6 runs against them.

"Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes, well, he eats you."

bobby, I can think of multiple (female) people for whom 'bum' is a very positive thought.

Madson was the clear choice tonight and until Lidge comes back by the end of the month. Phils are in the same position they have been for the last year plus - nobody else who is a real answer at closer and desperate for Lidge to come in as a sufficient closer & allow the other guys in the pen to settle into their respective roles.

"to say that he's performing poorly because he doesn't have the mental capacity to close games is ridiculous because in 2010, he's actually pitched better in the save situations, even after including tonight."

I don't think Madson's problem is with "save situations" per se since, as you note, he has been equally terrible in non-save situations this year. But what all those situations had in common is that they all occurred in the 9th inning of close games.

The bottom line is that Madson has now had 3 separate opportunities to be "the man" -- that is, the guy who pitches in the 9th inning of close games, whether a save situation or not. And it's simply impossible to ignore the fact that he has been horrific in all 3 auditions. I don't think his mental block is limited to save situations; I just think it's the pressure of being the No. 1 guy out of the bullpen and pitching in the 9th inning. It doesn't make a lot of rational sense that a guy can pitch fine in high leverage situations in the 8th inning, but not in the 9th. But mental blocks rarely make sense.

By the way, for all his ineptitude last season, Brade Lidge never blew a save in which he entered the game with a 3-run lead. In fact, he has never done that in his entire career.

As much as I feared Lidge coming into games last year ... Madson scares me even more this year. Madson looked lost on the bench after that debacle, like the kid who had zero Facebook friends in that recent South Park episode. We can't get Lidge back soon enough. Did I just really write this??

I understand the argument that roles don't impact performance, but I think there is a subtle difference between the 8th and 9th innings. In the 8th inning, managers are more willing to play the percentages and aren't necessarily set on one guy. Most teams have someone tabbed as their 8th inning set up man, but it isn't set in stone like the closer's role. If Madson did what he did tonight, but in the 8th inning, what are the chances he would've stayed in after the Glaus home run? Charlie would've at least had to consider going to a lefty (Heyward has been considerably worse against lefties so far, even if he hasn't had many ABs) or someone else considering how shaky Madson looked. While this difference wouldn't have an enormous impact on any statistics, it might've made a difference in the win column tonight, which is what really matters most.

Madson can be an effective reliever for us, but not if we insist on pitching him in the ninth inning regardless of the matchup and refuse to remove him. He's simply not a good enough pitcher that we can afford to use him this way.

Two years ago, Madson had success when he surprised hitters with his increased-velocity fastball. That's not working anymore. Whatever happened to his best pitch, the changeup? It even looked like he got Prado out with a curveball. He needs to have a talk with Trevor Hoffman.

Through 13 games:

2010: 8-5, Tied for 1st
2009: 6-7, 4 games back
2008: 6-7, 1 1/2 games back
2007: 3-10, 6 1/2 games back
1980: 6-7, 2 1/2 games back
1977: 5-8, 2 1/2 games back

Roy and his Boy's Kyle and Cole have the answer. They talked about it in the pre-dawn workouts. Charlie's gut knows. It spoke to him in the tenth. Rube knows that's why they signed Roy. Bobby Cox knows the formula for hanging pennants around the stadium every year.

Have some perspective. Its a very long season, we've got 149 games to go and we're basically in 1st place. Bullpens typically take a month or so to sort themselves out anyway.

Madson kneels before the king who taps him on each shoulder with his sword and says, "I dub thee Meatball."

Besides, Lidge alternates good year, bad year. Logically, that means he'll be dominant again when he comes back, right?

I just finished reading 'Hard to Believe!' (good read, JW). It reminded me vividly of the ups and downs of the 2008 season. I also went back and reread some of our game threads from even early Sept. Before the 4 game sweep of the Brewers in mid-sept, we were all ready to pack it in and go home. Have some perspective. Trust this team is probalby the best team you'll ever see in Philly and remember just how tough they are. They refuse to lose. They play their best when their backs are up against the wall. We've seen it time after time after time in the last 3-4 years now. This is a nearly meaningless game in mid April. Take away from it that KK finally gave us something positive to talk about and that our Ace is up tonight.

Good times, people, good times!

Good morning!

Roy is on TV tonight, even out here! (Sorry, I just cannot commit to the satellite, and I don't like to watch the computer.)

Yay!

Very surprised by KK last night. Not gonna think about the other one right now.

Have a great day.

If you have noticed, I worried everytime Madson pitched and compared him to Mitch Williams. I said this to all that was watching game with me last night (MLB station) that Madson may lost this game, which is a shame the way Kendrick pitched

Does Ruiz take some blame? For some reason, they never seem in sync. Constantly shaking off and mound discussions. Opponents hitting .282/.345/.432 off Madson with Ruiz catching. That's no good for the late innings.

I know it's only April and it's only one loss, but these are the types of games that can come back to haunt you. A 3 run lead with 2 outs in the 9th, and the go-ahead run on the bench. You have to win those games against a division rival that will most likely be in the hunt all year.

I'd rather nitpick and point out mistakes in an ugly win than talk about the silver lining in a tough loss.

Halladay v. Hudson. Should be another good one. I hope the bats are ready.

Hopefully Kendrick can build upon last night's outing. The BP is certainly a source of concern, but at least the team is not stuck with the current situation. Change (hopefully help) is on the way with Lidge and Romero, and if it turns out to be thin gruel, that's the time to worry.

At this point, I'm telling myself that three homeruns in four at bats is more of a fluke than the start of a trend.

What stung me more than anything was looking at our main rival in the ninth, completely on the ropes, blanked by a pitcher with a 17+ ERA. They were beaten, and knew they had a tough game #2 with Halladay waiting in the wings. They were looking at the likelihood of a convincing series loss. Then to watch them whooping it up like they won the WS...One out away from delivering a quick message about who the NL boss is, and now, well, we'll see. Kind of reminds me of that game against ATL a couple of years ago where the pop flys kept dropping in, and that right fielder forgot to put on his sunglasses.

But in the end it's a long season, and this is a tough team that bounces back.

JW: To me, it looked like Madson missed his spots last night. Therefore, it would be difficult to assess the pitch selection. Had he hit Ruiz's glove, would we be having this conversation? Fox example, Ruiz was set up far outside on Heyward. The pitch was left over the heart of the plate. However, you make a good point by posting opponents' BA, so who knows. Either way, it's got to be fixed.

On Ruiz: I think it depends on whether or not Madson is shaking him off consistently. Madson should just throw what Chooch calls and go from there. If it works for Roy, it should work for everyone.

It throws an entire AB off if Madson shakes off a first pitch changeup to throw a fastball and vice versa.

Half the Bullpen area will henceforth be used for extra batting practice for the starting pitchers who will be required to have at least 4 AB's per start. Glavine, Smoltz and Maddox will be hired to show them how to hit in the eighth and ninth innings.

They need to stabalize their postions in the pen. It seems to me nobody really knows what their roles are, which I realize is tough to do with all the injuries they have. That said, dont overreact to this loss. While it really sucked it's just one game and its better to happen now than in September. When Romero and Lidge come back we should see SOME improvement.

Anybody who wonders why UC pulled Kendrick in the 9th needs to read the following article from 1998, introducing the Pitcher Abuse Points statistic:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=148

KK did a fabulous job last night, and I was disappointed to see a couple of guys blame him for the loss because he couldn't finish the game. Yes, he started throwing balls as he started to tire, and ended up throwing more pitches in 8 innings than he needed to. He's a rook. He's got a lot to learn. He's barely ready for the majors. But he turned around 2 God-awful starts, battled his way through several tough spots, and kept a good Braves lineup scoreless for 8. That's everything a starter is supposed to do and more. Let's hope he keeps it up.

We all knew the Phils' bullpen was a question mark. It was a question mark all last year, too, and we still won the NL. Plus, if any of the three pitchers on the DL return in anything like their previous condition, the bullpen improves. That includes Blanton, whose return shoves a reasonable starter into a long relief role.

Tough loss last night. Let's shake it off. We've got a good team and long season.

Screw the Bullpen. This is all La Russa's doing. He has frecked up the game like football is frecked...bringing in field goal kickers to win the game. Who does he think he is anyway changing the game like he did. I know, a lawyer who happened to play baseball.

Apparently the homerun to Heyward came on a changeup and not a fastball. So I'll just shut up now.

I would agree location was the culprit. It's more of a general observation on Madson/Ruiz.

I love how my quote in last night's thread went from "Heyward just might have a better year than Howard" to "20 year-old prospect will have a better year that Ryan Howard."

DH Phils: Thank you for correcting the nonsense that MG and others here keep spewing about Madson, dating back a year now. The blown save vs. save stats have no meaning for non-closers BECAUSE THEY CANNOT POSSIBLY GET A SAVE. All they can get are blown saves. The correct way to use that stat, as you did, is to show what happened when a reliever WAS used as a closer. Why some people don't get that after a year of this nonsense is beyond me.

Where are all the posters who were clamoring for Contreras to be put into the rotation?

Cat got your tongues? How'd he look last night?

Huge rise in DITHL last nite.

Heyward looks like the next Dave Winfield...scary thought.

I hate to compare ANY prospect to a HoF but damn is he good.

clout: i am not one of wanted Contreras in the rotation, but I don't think he looked bad at all.

He threw his splitter for a strike to get ahead and in my opinion froze McLouth with a 95mph fastball right at the knees for strike 3. He then put another 95mph heater an inch off the black of the outside corner for ball 2, and then hung a splitter up and in and get burned by it. I wouldn't hesitate bringing him back again one bit.

You really don't know when Ruiz is having the bad day calling pitches behind the plate. You do know when a Matador is having a bad day.

Matadors usually have a bad day when the bull is uncooperative. How does this correlate?

If Madson is the deer in the headlights, I'm going to start to acknowledge that Jason Heyward will play the role of the Mack truck for years to come.

See, the Bull gets the blame even if the Matador gave the wrong signal or forgot the routine. The bull gets slaughtered in the end and will never ever blame the Matador.

Yeah, it's intellectually dishonest to cite a guy's saves and blown saves, & call it a "save percentage," when the vast majority of his blown saves came in a non-closing role in which he could ONLY get a blown save, but not a save. You don't need to resort to intellectual dishonesty to make the case that Ryan Madson can't handle the closer's job..

I just hope the Phils don't overreact and rush Lidge up to the big club. Let Lidge keep pitching in the minors and bring him up when he's 100% healthy. We can't deal with a scenario where Plan A and Plan B both suck at the same time. These losses hurt but they aren't insurmountable in the long run.

I with NEPP in that the starters should have a W,SOB if they pitch a complete game. (Save of Bullpen)

Interesting article from Jeff Passan about eliminating divisions and just allowing the top 4 teams in each league to go to the post-season. Gets rid of the unbalanced schedule and situations where inferior teams get in over better teams because of the divisions they play in. Interestingly, he cites the 2006 Phillies who did not make the playoffs yet had a better record than St. Louis who ultimately won the World Series.

Personally, I prefer the idea of going back to 4 divisions (AL and NL east and west), granting the 4 division winners and top 2 non-division winners from each league playoff births. You still get to have division winners, but now there are two wildcard teams and they could both come from the same division.

The whole floating realignment idea is absolutely absurd to me. Why would a team want to choose its division based on how it predicts it will do? One of the best things about sports is that every year there are surprisingly good teams and surprisingly bad teams. Let the players on the field dictate how well a team does, not some suit in a room before the season who wants to give up on the season just to get more home Yankee dates.

Quick Thoughts:

- I do not believe it's intellectually dishonest to cite Madson's Save/Blown Save stats, which indicate that not only can he not be trusted in the 9th, he cannot be trusted in pressure situations, period.

- Contreras is last night's Phillies hero for not dragging out the inevitable. Come in, give up the final bomb, go back to the hotel. Way to take one for the team, Jose.

- The Phillies are now 5-5 in games in which Roy Halladay has not pitched.

- I missed the Post Game. Did Bobby Cox happen to forfeit because his club won via 3HR in that Atlanta bandbox?

GTown Dave: If you're going to give him blame for his 15 career non-save-situation blown saves, you're going to give him credit for his 95 career holds, right? Or does that interfere with your narrative?

For the record, I thought Madson's location last night was exceptional. Aside from the BB to Chipper, his pitches managed to locate Atlanta bats swiftly & unerringly.

DH: He can get credit for his "Holds" & still be a far less effective pitcher than people want to give him credit for. The second half or so of '08 aside, Madson has always been an inconsistent quantity. As I've written before, I do not believe he's a bum, but I do believe he's overrated in the minds of many fans.

By-the-by, I wonder how much of a factor getting jerked back & forth between 8th & 9th inning duties has hurt Madson. I know there are many here who don't think the situation has any bearing -- as in, either a guy can pitch or he can't -- but I feel it really makes a difference to relievers to have a set role & be able to stick to it. The glaring difference between '08 & '07/'09/& so far in '10 is the upheaval in bullpen roles.

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