Ryan Madson

Former Phillies setup man Ryan Madson plays key role in Nationals' win

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Former Phillies setup man Ryan Madson plays key role in Nationals' win

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WASHINGTON — It was a sight we'd seen before, Ryan Madson mowing down hitters in the eighth inning with a big fastball and a baffling changeup for one of the best teams in baseball.

Only this wasn't 2008 and Madson wasn't wearing a Phillies uniform.

Nine seasons after he helped the Phillies win the World Series as the bridge to Lidge, Madson, now 37, is back in the National League East pitching for the playoff-bound Washington Nationals. He got three big outs — two via strikeouts — in a one-run game in the eighth inning to help the Nats beat the Phillies, 4-3, on Thursday night (see observations).

The Nationals' magic number for clinching a fourth straight NL East title is down to four.

Madson joined the Nats in a July trade deadline deal with Oakland. Lefty closer Sean Doolittle also came over in that deal. The duo has been sensational. Doolittle racked up his 16th save in as many chances for the Nats on Thursday night. Madson has collected 12 scoreless innings for his new club. He has allowed six hits and a walk while registering 17 strikeouts. And he's still hitting 97 mph on the radar gun, just like he did in 2008 when he was the setup man for Brad Lidge.

"It's a big gift, a huge gift, coming over here," Madson said after the game. "I just feel very fortunate to have been pitching well enough to be invited over here."

Madson is a survivor. He left the Phillies as a free agent when the Phils signed Jonathan Papelbon to be their closer in November 2011. Shortly after that, Madson was beset by elbow problems and did not pitch in the majors for three seasons. He spent the 2014 season at home before signing with Kansas City in 2015 and helping the Royals win the World Series.

He will get a chance to win a third ring next month.

"My career could have been done very easily," he said. "Thankfully, I found some trainers that got me healthy and got me strong."

Madson said this Nationals team, which also features 2008 Phillies Jayson Werth and Joe Blanton, reminds him of that championship Phillies club.

"And the 2015 Royals," he said. "Any good team is going to have that vibe."

Madson was drafted by the Phillies in 1998. Nineteen years later, he finally pitched against them.

"Pretty crazy," he said. "Somebody just texted me and said that was the last team I hadn't pitched against. Now I've pitched against them all. I didn't even know it."

While he was on the mound, Madson felt no special sentiment pitching against his former team. But after the game ...

"I think it's been so long there was nothing really crazy about it, but after the game I did think about Larry Bowa being over there and I want to say hi to him tomorrow and give him a big hug," Madson said. "He had faith in me and brought me up from Triple A when I was a starter and made me a reliever. So him and Matt Stairs, of course. I need to say hi to them."

Bowa, now the Phillies' bench coach, was the team's manager when Madson came up in 2003. Stairs, now the Phils' hitting coach, was a teammate in 2008. He hit a pretty big home run in the NLCS, if you recall.

Madson worked with a one-run lead Thursday night after Phillies starter Aaron Nola and reliever Adam Morgan could not hold a two-run lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Nola went 5 1/3 innings and gave up seven hits and three runs, one of which was unearned.

"It wasn't the best we've seen Nola," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He pitched well enough to win. We just didn't score enough."

Two weeks after saying he wanted to keep catcher Cameron Rupp with Nola, Mackanin used rookie Jorge Alfaro behind the plate.

"I just changed my mind," Mackanin said. "I want to see more of Alfaro and let these guys pitch to a different catcher."

Alfaro belted a home run in the third inning. Mackanin believes Alfaro has made strides defensively, though he was charged with a passed ball in the Nationals' three-run sixth.

Alfaro is out of minor-league options and could be the Phillies' primary catcher next season. He needs reps with Nola, the team's most dependable pitcher and a building block for the future.

"He's making a great impression," Mackanin said. "As I always say, everybody is auditioning all the time and he's having a very good audition."

As for Ryan Madson, he is long past the audition stage of his career. But nine years after helping the Phillies win the World Series, he's still going strong and has a chance to win another one in Washington.

Nicknames 2008 Phillies will use for Players Weekend

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Nicknames 2008 Phillies will use for Players Weekend

Chooch.
 
Hollywood.
 
Silver Fox?
 
The 2008 Phillies will go down as one of the most loved teams to ever play in the city of Philadelphia, and while most have moved on, the nicknames we called them back in the day, and some we didn’t, will appear on real Major League Baseball jerseys this season.
 
During the weekend of August 25-27, the first-ever Players Weekend will allow Major Leaguers to wear nicknames on the back of new-look jerseys for the first time. Here’s what the current Phillies team will look like, which features some interesting nicknames.
 
Here’s a look at how the still-active members of the 2008 World Series team will suit up.
 
Chase Utley, embracing his age and look, will be known as Silver Fox.
 


 
Cole Hamels, as he was known with the Phillies, will be Hollywood.
 

 
Chooch, will be known as Chooch.
 


Jayson Werth will simply be known as Dub.
 


 
Ryan Madson will wear Blest. Perhaps “Bridge to Lidge” was too long.
 

 
Joe Blanton will slim down his name, as he has his appearance, to Joe B.
 

 
J.A. Happ will go with Happer.
 

MLB Notes: Nationals acquire Madson, Doolittle from A's for Treinen, prospects

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MLB Notes: Nationals acquire Madson, Doolittle from A's for Treinen, prospects

CINCINNATI -- Looking to fortify a bullpen that has blown more than a third of its save chances, the Washington Nationals acquired relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the Oakland Athletics for right-hander Blake Treinen and a pair of prospects.

Left-hander Jesus Luzardo and infielder Sheldon Neuse were sent to Oakland as part of Sunday's deal.

A 36-year-old right-hander, Madson has a 2.06 ERA and is seventh among relievers in hits plus walks per inning at 0.79. He has not allowed any of the seven inherited runners to score in his past 13 appearances.

Doolittle is a 30-year-old left-hander who has held left-handed batters hitless in 23 at-bats this year with 12 strikeouts and no walks. He is 1-0 with three saves, a 3.38 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings.

NL East-leading Washington has a strong rotation led by Max Scherzer (11-5), Stephen Strasburg (9-3) and Gio Gonzalez (8-4) but has converted just 22 of 36 save chances (see full story).

Red Sox manager Farrell says Boston will file formal protest
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell says Boston will move forward with a formal protest over the lack of an interference call in a 4-1, 16-inning loss to the New York Yankees.

Matt Holliday walked leading off the 11th Saturday and Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a grounder to first baseman Mitch Moreland, who threw to second for a forceout. Holliday retreated toward first and slid into the bag as shortstop Xander Bogaerts' throw arrived.

Moreland wasn't able to reach the ball, which hit Ellsbury and bounced into foul territory. Farrell argued for an interference call, but umpires allowed Ellsbury to stay on first.

"We still firmly believe there was interference on the play and if it goes unaddressed or without any further attention brought to it, who's to say you can't instruct runners to do the same going forward?" Farrell said Sunday.

Holliday said he was unaware Moreland did not touch first before throwing to second (see full story).

Rockies activate Desmond, put RHP Chatwood on 10-day DL
NEW YORK -- Ian Desmond has been activated from the 10-day disabled list by the Colorado Rockies and is in the starting lineup against the New York Mets.

The versatile Desmond had been sidelined since July 3 with a strained right calf. He returned without a minor league rehab assignment, playing left field and batting fifth Sunday for the struggling Rockies, who had lost 15 of 20.

Desmond made an immediate impact his first time up, hitting a two-run single off Steven Matz with two outs in the first inning.

To open a roster spot, Colorado placed right-hander Tyler Chatwood on the 10-day DL with a right calf strain. A wild Chatwood was removed from Saturday night's start against the Mets after walking three of the five batters he faced and getting only one out. He also gave up Jay Bruce's three-run homer.