The Nationals' six-run rally ended Ryan Madson's run of spotless save attempts in an 8-4 defeat on Friday night. It wasn't as bad as it looked.
Beerleaguer: When Madson was auditioning for the closer role the previous two seasons, his innings unfolded a lot like Friday. He had his first two batters, Jayson Werth and Danny Espinosa, buried in the count and couldn't put them away; Werth worked him over for 11 pitches before singling, Espinosa then dunked one into center field after falling behind 0-2 in the count. And that's basically the point where the Nationals pinned Madson against the ropes; Madson's third appearance in a row had already become a long inning just two batters into the frame. Jonny Gomes then singled in Werth. Later in the frame, Madson again had Ian Desmond buried 0-2 and let him off the hook; Desmond dinked one into right to tie it up. Frankly, the grandeur of Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off slam had far less to do with the final outcome than Werth and Espinosa's at bats.
Needless to say, Madson will be unavailable tonight. Antonio Bastardo has also pitched three-straight games and is also likely out. It's no coincidence that Madson's meltdown came after a string of weather-screwed games and three-straight appearances, a situation the Phils have largely avoided all summer. His stuff was maybe a little worse than normal, but not terribly different. Tip your cap to Werth, in particular, who displayed his best overall attribute as a ballplayer with that excellent at-bat.
The Phillies need innings from Roy Oswalt (5-7, 3.84), who will be looking for his second-straight win, while the Phils will look to continue their assault on left-hander John Lannan (8-8, 3.55), who had a miserable time of it last week in Philadelphia.