Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Shattered Confidence

A month or so ago Ryan Madson was on top of the world. The lanky righthander had signed a big off-season contract. His fastball was in the mid-nineties and his change-up was much improved. Most important, he was getting guys out.

Today his confidence has been shaken to its roots if not shattered altogether as he blew a lead last night a half inning after the Phils moved ahead of Atlanta on back-to-back home runs. C0upled with two blown saves recently as he temporarily stepped into the closer's job while Brad Lidge was on the shelf, Madson must be wondering how did everything go south so fast.

Lidge has blown numerous saves himself this season and despite protestations that he's healthy again, one has to wonder about his self-confidence. Even when he manages to hold a lead or save a game, Lidge invariably makes each appearance an adventure. As for his tender knee, it's hard to take anyone's word on this club when it comes to health matters.

The starting pitching may remain woefully inconsistent, but relief pitching has been the biggest culprit in many of the recent losses.

* * * * * * * *

Somebody should tell Jayson Werth to stay on his feet when chasing balls hit to the wall. He's been going into a slide especially on balls hit to his left, trying to smother rebounds like a hockey goalie. It ain't working. Indeed, Werth doesn't go back on balls over his head to either side particularly well. When is the last time the Phillies had a rightfielder who could go back on a ball?

* * * * * * * *

Raul Ibanez will test his injured groin in some rehab games at Reading. Is it really all that surprising that a 37-year old guy is suffering injuries to muscles and tendons? Before the groin injury he was limping around with an Achilles heel problem.

* * * * * * * *

Speaking of confidence, Carlos Ruiz' may not have lost his at the plate but he's reverted to his old habits and is the closest thing to a sure out in the lineup other than the current version of Jimmy Rollins. Ruiz will remain the starter for his glove, handling of pitchers and extraordinary ability to block balls in the plate, none of which Chris Coste does well. And after all, it isn't as though Coste represents such a big offensive upgrade.

No comments: