2018 Dodgers Player Reviews: Ryan Madson

The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Ryan Madson on waivers from the Washington Nationals. The Dodgers sent minor league pitcher Andrew Istler to the Nationals.

Much like David Freese, “Mad Dog” was brought aboard as a playoff veteran to help put the team over the top. It wasn’t hard to see why, as Madson possesses two rings with the 2008 Phillies and 2015 Royals, and is second only to Mariano Rivera in all-time postseason games pitched.

Regular Season Recap

Madson may have been acquired with the playoffs in mind. But he failed to impress in his one month of regular season action with the Dodgers, amassing an unsightly 6.48 ERA in only 8.1 innings pitched.

How’d He Do in October?

At this point, the name Madson is associated with Dodger relief failure in the playoffs in a manner akin to Niedenfuer and Broxton. But it must be noted that he was crucial in getting the team back to the Fall Classic. His first (and greatest) moment came in game four of the NLDS in Atlanta. In the bottom of fifth with only one out and the bases loaded with Braves, Madson induced two clutch pop flies to escape the jam. He thus became the winning pitcher one David Freese’s go-ahead single, helping the team advance to their third consecutive NLCS.

Fortunately, he was just as brilliant against Milwaukee. He was one of many clutch relievers in game four, pitching a scoreless 1.1 of the 13 innings played. Madson was also the winning pitcher of game seven, in which he threw 1.2 innings and two strikeouts. Despite an unimpressive regular season, his performance in the first two rounds resoundingly vindicated his acquisition.

Of course, it’s not how you start, but how you finish. Madson couldn’t replicate his NLDS heroics with runners on base in the World Series. In game one, relieving Clayton Kershaw in the bottom of the fifth, he allowed three inherited runners to score. It was deja vu in game two, allowing another three in the bottom of the fifth in relief of Hyun-Jin Ryu.

The coup de grace was the seventh inning of game four. With Rich Hill pulled too early and a walk issued by Scott Alexander, Madson came in with two on and one out. He retired Jackie Bradley, but then surrendered a mammoth three-run home run to pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland.

With that, he officially allowed seven of seven inherited runners to score for the entire series.

Granted, this home run didn’t cost the Dodgers the lead, as they ended the inning still ahead 4-3. But it was the turning point of the game, as Boston swiftly tied it in the eighth against Kenley Jansen and surged ahead for good in the ninth off seemingly every other available reliever.

What Lies Ahead

Madson is now a free agent. Given his immediate unpopularity with fans, age and dismal World Series showing, it’s safe to say he won’t be taking the mound in Dodger Blue in 2019.

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  1. The decision to bring in Mason was an easy one. After all, he was the only pitcher available to pitch. The bullpen was empty. No one else was available and his spin rate was over the top.