Here’s what a few Phillies fans will see when they read tomorrow’s box score:
Madson. Madson! Ryan Madson has become a whipping boy for a small-but-vocal minority of Phillies fans. And the flames were fanned when Brad Lidge was injured to start the year, and Madson’s own pitching coach thought that Madson was a different pitcher depending on the role in which he was used:
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.
So with Lidge out, the Phillies turned to Jose Contreras, and after his elbow gave out, they turned reluctantly to Madson, who apparently was a ninth-inning arm with an eighth-inning head. Except Madson has been insanely dominant since becoming the closer. Before Tuesday night, he had a 13-inning scoreless streak, and was a perfect nine for nine in save opportunities. Tuesday, he came in for a non-save situation -- his bread and butter! -- and he blew it.
He didn’t do that on purpose. But it would be sort of poetic if he did.
The Reds scored the first run of the game, with Scott Rolen testing out Chase Utley’s knee in the first inning. A bloop RBI single fell just short of the Phillies’ sprinting second baseman to put the Reds up 1-0. In the second, an RBI double from Raul Ibanez and a sacrifice fly from Domonic Brown gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead, and Carlos Ruiz's RBI double tacked on another run in the fourth.
Cincinnati was able to tie the game in the fifth off rookie Phillies starter Vance Worley, with Brandon Phillips singling home two runners. Worley pitched five innings, walking four and striking out three. His counterpart for the Reds, Johnny Cueto, had a similar game, throwing six innings with two walks and a lone strikeout.
In the ninth, Drew Stubbs bunted for a base hit and advanced to second when Madson threw the ball down the right-field line. Brandon Phillips lined out for the second out of the inning, and Charlie Manuel ordered an intentional walk to Joey Votto. An infield hit from Scott Rolen loaded the bases, which brought up Jay Bruce. A 1-1 fastball tailed too far over the plate, and Bruce cleared the bases with a double.
If you’re keeping score at home, that last hit brought the number of hard-hit balls off Madson in the inning up to 1. Francisco Cordero pitched an uneventful ninth for the save, and the Reds moved to 26-23 while the Phillies dropped to 29-19.
Maybe Ryan Madson doesn’t have that setup pitcher’s mentality after all. Or maybe baseball’s not always fair.