Philadelphia Phillies fans can be forgiven for being taken aback on Friday when Buster Olney tweeted about the Phillies supposed interest in relief help prior to this year’s trade deadline (allow me to introduce you to Jason Frasor). However, if such rumours didn’t make sense at the end of last week with relievers Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras withering away on the Disabled List, and former work horse starter Roy Oswalt on his way to join them, it sure makes sense now that the team has had to place Ryan Madson on the DL with a right hand contusion.
It seems as though the Phillies are having trouble keeping their closer, no matter who he is, healthy.
After Lidge and Contreras went down to injury earlier this season, Madson has filled in very impressively as the team’s ninth inning man, successfully closing out 15 of his 16 opportunities for saves. He also boasts the lowest FIP and xFIP among Phillies relievers and has allowed only seven runs over 31 innings this season. His control has been especially phenomenal as a 3.09 K/BB ratio while pitching in the highest leverage situations of his career would suggest. He does all of this mainly on the strength of a ten mph difference between his four seam fastball and his very effective changeup.
To fill his spot on the roster, right hander Andrew Carpenter has been called up from Triple A Lehigh Valley. However, Madson’s replacement as closer for the Phillies will most likely be Antonio Bastardo, with Mike Stutes serving as his understudy.
The move is retroactive to June 19, which means Madson could return as soon as July 4. While it’s unfortunate for the Phillies, the Toronto Blue Jays will have one less dominant pitcher to deal with come this weekend.