CLEARWATER, Fla. -- When the Phillies went to Los Angeles last August, Ryan Madson had pitched to a 1.95 ERA in 28 games since returning from an embarrassing broken toe injury that kept him out for two months.
But he still sought advice from a close friend, his agent Scott Boras. They met and Boras asked Madson why he had been so unsuccessful in closing opportunities before and what had prompted him to kick the chair. He wanted to know Madson's mental state.
Following the hour-long chat, Madson said he had a clearer mind. He didn't need to consult anyone else.
"After I was done talking to him, I was like 'Where's the pitching mound? Let me try this,'" Madson said. "It was like a salesman talking you into a better car."
Who knew Boras had those powers?
In all seriousness, Madson is convinced he's in a better mental state and if the chance to close in Brad Lidge's absence arises, he says he is ready. The Phillies will decide between Madson and Jose Contreras to close -- or use both.
The chat with Boras still resonates for Madson.
"He said, 'Tell me what your mentality was when you were closing,'" Madson recalled. "I was like, I thought I was going to be perfect. I really thought I was going to be perfect and not blow one save. That was my mentality going out there. That's what I was like in the minor-leagues, so I stuck with it. Well it doesn't work that way. You're putting too much emphasis on every pitch. It has to be perfect. Then when you blow a save, it carries on and little things happen. It's so finicky of an inning you can't be finicky with your mind. You have to be solid and just know, 'This is going to happen. Tomorrow it's not.'"
Madson, by the way, is a free agent after this season. With Boras as his agent, he signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Phillies before the 2009 season.
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