“I don’t have a good change-up today,” Ryan Madson told his catcher, Paul Bako, when he entered the game with one on and two out in the eighth inning today, and the Phillies leading Milwaukee 6-5.
"All right,” said Bako. “Let’s go.”
It was perhaps a hidden blessing that Madson was without his best breaking pitch yesterday. Relying on his fastball, Madson powered his way to a four-out save, with help from a caught stealing to end the eighth.
The pitch the Madson calls a sinker consistently reached 97-m.ph. in the ninth inning, saving the Phillies from another potential late-game disaster.
“I don’t think that’s allowed to be called a sinker,” said Chad Durbin, who shut out the Brewers through 1 1/3 of the most important innings he has thrown all year. “It’s an exploding something-or-other.”
In a previous audition to replace Brad Lidge as closer, Madson lost a game to the New York Mets Sept. 12 when David Wright homered on a first-pitch change-up.
“I just re-learned a lesson that day,” about when to use the change-up, Madson said.
Manager Charlie Manuel spoke with Madson soon after that game, reminding him not to use his second-best pitch in a key situation. “I’m a best-pitch guy,” Manuel said yesterday. “If you get beat on your best pitch, then I’m alright with that.”
“The David Wright home run on that first-pitch change-up really put things into perspective” for Madson, said Jimmy Rollins, who added he has seen a more determined Madson ever since.
When Mike Cameron struck out looking at a fastball to end yesterday’s game, Madson reacted with uncharacteristic emotion; he screamed, pumped his fist three times and slapped hands forcefully with Bako.
“It was just a buildup of a couple of frustrating days,” Madson said. “It felt really good."