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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Game 123: Hey, Madson: throw a changeup (80-43)

Thanks to Charlie Manuel and Ryan Madson's pitch selection, the Phillies blew a 4-2 lead in the ninth inning.

Madson didn't look sharp at all, which may be related to the fact that he was pitching in his third consecutive game yesterday.

He didn't pitch at all between August 10 and August 17 due partly to the three off-days in that span, so I won't kill Manuel for pitching Madson in the 9-2 Arizona game on the 17th.

However, Madson was used the very next night in a 4-1 game in the 9th inning, which is a completely undesirable situation for Phillies management. Madson should not be used in the ninth inning on back-to-back nights if the lead is three runs or more. You could even argue that a 3-run lead is the exact worst time to use him, because it's a very easy save situation (win expectancy is 97%) which allows your free-agent closer to inflate his stats, decreasing the likelihood of a new contract at the end of the season.

It's debatable that Madson should have been used in the 9-2 Arizona game, but it's a joke that he was used for the 4-1 game. Using him with a 3-run lead on back-to-back nights makes him unavailable for a game if he pitches the next night, and it probably diminishes his effectiveness for his third appearance. His effectiveness was certainly limited last night, and it might have been due to his third appearance in 3 days after a full week of zero innings pitched.

Appearing in the 4-1 game may not have hurt Madson last night, but it's possible it did. Thankfully in the playoffs, there will be off-days in the schedule that will prevent Manuel from a repeat of the scenario -- unless it occurs in Game 5 of a 7-game series.

Now, Madson is absolutely unavailable for tonight's game. On a blog where we consistently call for Madson's use in high-leverage situations, the last 3 nights are perfect examples of why he needs to be used more efficiently (Manuel used his best reliever in games with the scores of 9-2, 4-1, and 4-2: all with the bases empty).

Also, Madson threw his changeup about 20% of the time last night. He started the inning with an 0-2 count to Jayson Werth, and only threw two changeups out of the next 8 pitches to Werth. Madson allowed five hits in the inning. Four of the hits were off fastballs, and the one hit off the changeup was a cheap hit to center field that only dropped because of the NO DOUBLES defense (which is a topic for another day -- if this defense decreases the chances of a run scored, why the hell isn't it used in the first inning?).

Madson only got one real out in the inning, and it came because he threw his changeup three times to Rick Ankiel. I'd much rather have seen Madson lose with his best pitch instead of a steady diet of fastballs.

If Madson goes down in a playoff game because he gives up on his best pitch, I don't think I'll survive.

Tonight, someone on the Phillies will pitch (my guess is Roy Oswalt) against LHP John Lannan. Between Zimmerman's reaction on the walk-off grand slam and Lannan's debut in 2007, I would love to see a 4-seamer directly into Lannan's neck in the third inning.


Henry Rowengartner said...

"If Madson goes down in a playoff game because he gives up on his best pitch, I don't think I'll survive"

They never would have lost to the Giants if he didn't throw that atrocious cut-fastball to Uribe.

Andy Musser said...

True. And Bochy would have been dumb enough to save Wilson for a save-situation, and Hamels was going to win game 7.

Ruiz is definitely above-average defensively, but he seems to be overvalued in terms of how he helps the pitchers on the staff.

Robby Bonfire said...

With Mayberry hitting a ton, it seems, the Phillies, so long as Pence stays hot, along with Mayberry, now seem more than merely adequate in the lefty-righty offensive balance department. Does Mayberry's resurgence mean we have a new regular left fielder? What an upgrade, at least for now, that appears to be. Dom Brown who? lol

Scott Graham said...

I don't think there's any chance that Mayberry will be a regular over Ibanez. I think it's definitely worth debate, and at the very least I think he's good enough to platoon with Ibanez. Ideally, I'd prefer a Mayberry/Brown platoon. They're both better than Raul defensively, and can't be worse offensively. Please don't give up on Dom Brown yet - he's only 23 (24 soon).

Robby Bonfire said...

Not in the slightest am I "giving up" on Brown, Scott. I made the observation in deference to the howitzer year Mayberry is having.

Next year, if the club can carry a Vic - Brown - Mayberry - and Pence outfield contingent, perhaps we can agree that for depth and quality it could be second to none.