Madson Puts Phillies Back In First

Carlos Ruiz tags out Jorge Cantu in the eighth inning last night. It prevented the tying run from scoring.

Ryan Madson said he looked behind him and saw a pretty good infield that he thought could make some pretty big plays for him.

He had just put runners on second and third with no outs in the bottom of the eighth inning last night at Dolphin Stadium. He needed ground balls and strikeouts. He needed to protect a one-run lead on a night the Phillies had to scratch for their three runs. He got Dan Uggla to chop a ball to third baseman Greg Dobbs, who threw out Jorge Cantu at the plate. He got Josh Willingham to ground out to shortstop Jimmy Rollins for the second out. And he struck out Cody Ross in a nine-pitch at-bat to get out of the inning and preserve a 3-2 victory over the Marlins that put the Phillies back into first place in the National League East.

"I finally got to throw the pitch that I wanted to throw," Madson said. "(Ross) was late on the fastball and late on the cutter. He's a good away hitter. When he's late, you want to stay hard, but after a while I said, 'He's getting geared up. If I'm going to get beat, I'm going to get beat with my best pitch.' I told Chooch, 'If I throw the change-up, I'm going to throw it in the dirt.' When are we going to throw it? When are we going to throw the change-up? It finally got to the point where we said, 'Let's throw it.' "

Up a half-game over the Mets with seven to go.


Mike Schmidt dropped into Dolphin Stadium to wish the Phillies luck. He talked with Jim Salisbury about Ryan Howard's MVP chances, his motivational e-mail that upset Mets fans and more.


The Postseason Odds Report from Baseball Prospectus:

- The Phillies have a 67.89 percent chance to win the NL East, 28.51 percent chance to win the wild card and a 96.4 percent chance to make the playoffs overall.
- The Mets  have a  32.08 percent chance to win the East, a 54.92 percent chance to win the wild card and an 87.01 percent chance to make the playoffs overall.
- The Brewers have a 15.62 percent chance to make the playoffs as the wild card.


In The Inquirer's Sunday baseball column, Salisbury takes a look at what could be a ballooning payroll for the Phillies in 2009. Also check out Extra Bases.


Gonzo is turning into a Charlie Manuel fan.


In the Phillies Notebook: more on Tattoogate, which really isn't a controversy at all. But it is interesting to read about.  Promise.