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  1. As a Phillies fan, I’m almost glad Lidge won’t be starting the season with the big club. He was struggling to get above 90 with his fastball this spring which is worrisome to say the least. He’ll always live and die off his multiple varieties of sliders, but if his very straight fastball is only touching 90 he’s going to have a hard time getting outs.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — March 31, 2011 @ 10:23 am

  2. Aren’t Madson’s save stats basically meaningless, because he gets many chances to blow saves but not many chances to earn saves?

    Comment by Popeye — March 31, 2011 @ 10:26 am

  3. popeye – yes. that number is very misleading.

    Comment by conshy matt — March 31, 2011 @ 10:29 am

  4. I believe even his numbers for straight up save situations (enters in the 9th with the lead) are pretty terrible as well…below 80%.

    (The numbers are still basically meaningless because of SSS…but just responding to your concern.)

    Comment by hunterfan — March 31, 2011 @ 10:30 am

  5. The way you used “blown saves” with Madson, as if they were actually blown save situations, is misleading at best, and ignorant at worst. That was the spot I decided to stop reading your post.

    Comment by Sean — March 31, 2011 @ 10:45 am

  6. this was a poor, poor article.

    Comment by fjmanuel — March 31, 2011 @ 11:01 am

  7. Yes, his saves vs blown saves stat is somewhat misleading, but as hunterfan pointed out, Madson has generally struggled in save situations as well.

    While I do make note of his struggles in the role, I also call it a statistical oddity and point out that we shouldn’t expect his struggles to continue.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

    Comment by Chris Cwik — March 31, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  8. Being a little hard on the guy, no? The tweak I’d make would be to only use his traditional save chances (lead in 9th, starting inning etc), which as has been pointed out is also low. He also correctly points out that Madson is actually being used wisely, in the high leverage situations regardless of 9th.

    Any decent ML reliever should be able to get three outs before giving up 1-3 runs a vast majority of the time. Contreras will be fine, and the Phils are using them correctly in the roles stated. Especially with Contreras and his odd stranded baserunner rates (in a SSS), it might be beneficial to be starting an inning with bases empty the vast majority of the time.

    Comment by Vision — March 31, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  9. Information on Contreras – good, I actually didn’t know that stuff, it does sound like a promising replacement.

    Information on a non-closer using Saves/blown saves – bad, and yes, it’s piling on. other examples on non-closers, looking at the active games pitched list:
    Arthur Rhodes – 32 SV, 43 BS
    Alan Embree – 25 SV, 32 BS
    J.C. Romero – 7Sv, 26 BS

    Other point – who is the replacement for Lidge at the bottom of the pen? Since the top guys are likely to pitch the same # of innings regardless (even if a new guy gets saves), it’s really the bottom guy who changes things. For this rotation, it might not matter as much, I suppose, but the issue is really who gets Lidge’s 15 IP while he is out.

    Comment by test — March 31, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  10. I’m a first year teacher and I’m really glad there aren’t people sitting in my classroom saying things like “that was a poor, poor lesson plan” every time I make a mistake.

    I’ve enjoyed a lot of your work so far Chris. Keep at it.

    Comment by krub16 — March 31, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  11. It wasn’t a mistake or he’d correct it with the actual numbers. It was a lazy way of using statistics to support a point. Find the real numbers, use them and let’s see whether it fits the hypothesis.

    Comment by Booond — March 31, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

  12. David Herndon made the club instead of going to AAA as a result of this injury. The rest of their bullpen is as follows:

    CP Jose Contreras
    SU Ryan Madson
    RHP Danys Baez (7th inning guy)
    LHP JC Romero (LOOGY)
    LHP Antonio Bastardo (LOOGY)
    RHP Kyle Kendrick (long man)

    Comment by NEPP — March 31, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

  13. Which is why the MLB save rate is something like 75% over the last 10 years…

    On Contreras…his forkball is a great outpitch when paired with his 95-96 mph fastball (where he usually is in short stints if not a bit higher). That forkball is just nasty.

    Comment by NEPP — March 31, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

  14. He was sitting 85-86 mph before he was finally shut down. The hardest he threw all spring was 88 mph per scouting reports. He was down to 91ish during the 2nd half last year. He’s lost a TON of velocity over the past few years thanks to the arm and knee issues (most of a pitchers velocity comes from his legs and Lidge has baically bone on bone in his knee from all the surgeries he’s had on it).

    Comment by NEPP — March 31, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

  15. Herndon has picked up a more effective slider over the offseason so his previous results may not reflect his expected performance.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — March 31, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

  16. Lidge hasn’t dominated since 2008.

    Does Madson purposely save his best stuff for high leverage situations? Or does he help create high leverage situations (ex. giving up a few hits then striking out the side, or by IBBing a masher to pitch to the 6 hole)? Can he really control his HR rate in high leverage situations?

    Just wondering…

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — March 31, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  17. Hand the REINS over. The REINS!
    That drives me crazy.

    On the other hand, thanks for teaching me something new about Contreras.

    Comment by J. Bowman — March 31, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

  18. Brad Johnson,

    I couldn’t agree with you with more. His no-movement, 90 mph fastball is something that can’t be thrown too often to Major League hitters. The fact that he threw it only 39.8% of the time last year indicates that he is aware of this as well. Also, that “get it over” breaking ball that he throws early in the count is very hittable if batters are looking for it, which they should be considering that he doesn’t throw his fastball very much–or very effectively–anymore.

    Comment by Mcneildon — March 31, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

  19. Doesn’t K-Rod to the Phils make a lot of sense?

    Comment by bureaucratist — March 31, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

  20. It might make sense except for the following 2 things:

    1) The Phils front office values character and makeup very highly. They’re not going to take a guy who beats people up and is generally a loose cannon.

    2) The whole money thing. Amaro says there is really no money left and he’s not kidding.

    Comment by hunterfan — March 31, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

  21. 1. If they’re struggling for a playoff spot in June because they don’t have a reliable closer, that priority may well change.

    2. If a closer looks like the missing link for another World Series run, Rodriguez is a free agent after this year. The Mets may even be persuaded to play a little bit of his salary, just to save whatever they can, if they’re desperate enough. I know there’s “no money left,” but that does mean $5 or $6 million can’t be scrounged up.

    Comment by bureaucratist — March 31, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

  22. Dude, he said right after the blown saves remark that there’s no reason to expect Madson to continue struggling if he’s thrust into a closer’s role. You obviously should have kept reading.

    Comment by Andy — March 31, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

  23. While I have no idea what your objection was to this article, because you were to lazy to tell us, the criticism I’ve seen of this article is ridiculous. Sure, the blown saves stuff wasn’t necessary, because even the writer is obviously aware that those stats are irrelevant, but it’s not like he made a case for Madson being a bad option at closer. He said Madson would be fine in that role, and he demonstrated his smarts by saying that it’s actually a good thing he’s not in that role, because he’s better used in the role he has now. You people must all be Phillies fans, and you must all be getting pretty pi$$ed off about all the sports-writers jumping off your ginormous bandwaggon. Stop whining about it and give an article half a chance before you shower it with ridicule.

    Comment by Andy — March 31, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

  24. I assume the article is asking a rhetorical question?

    So the question is how do the Phillies replace a reliever who’s managed to top 1 WAR just once in the last 5 seasons? Or how do they replace a reliever who’s managed to accumulate -0.4 WAR over the last 2 seasons?

    Is there a replacement level arm that can contribute 0 WAR?

    Comment by joe — March 31, 2011 @ 11:51 pm

  25. I know stats people don’t care about emotion or the fact that humans really do play the game. However, what kind of emotional loss do the Phillies have? I don’t mean “o man, we lost lidge” I mean “wow, Ultey, Brown, now Lidge?”.

    Comment by Anthony — April 1, 2011 @ 12:28 am

  26. Considering the amount of previous comments that provided no useful commentary or constructive criticism, I shouldn’t be picking on this one. The proper term is indeed “reins”, but I feel that, in this community, we should have a better method of pointing of such minor errors. Perhaps adopt a simple corrections hashtag (#corrections). Hopefully this will take any emotion out of pointing out a tiny mistake.

    Comment by Austin Brancheau — April 1, 2011 @ 2:08 am

  27. Lidge is a free agent at the end of the season. Any chance he resigns with PHI or is the job in 2012 Madson’s to lose?

    Comment by mattmaison — April 1, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

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