06/10/09 2:46 AM ET
Madson prepared to step in for Lidge
Philadelphia (33-23) at New York (31-25), 7:10 p.m. ET
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
He learned Tuesday that he is the Phillies' closer until Brad Lidge returns from the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right knee. Lidge is eligible to be activated June 23, but he could be out longer.
Madson, who is 2-1 with a 2.22 ERA in 29 appearances, picked up two saves this season when Lidge missed time in late April and early May after he received a cortisone injection into the knee. Madson has seven saves in his career.
"This year, yeah," Madson said, asked if he has liked his few opportunities to close. "More than the previous years just because the playoffs and World Series. Every inning was the inning. This year getting a chance to do it has been less stressful. I'm just more prepared this year than I have been in the past. I've just got to hold it down until he gets back."
While Madson closes, left-hander J.C. Romero is expected to step into the the setup role, although Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said right-handers Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey and Chan Ho Park could pitch in the eighth inning, depending on the team and the situation.
"I'm just going to go out there and throw like I've been throwing it," Madson said. "Being aggressive."
Manuel said he is confident Madson can fill Lidge's void. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he is, too.
"If in fact we lose Brad for a more significant amount of time, then I think we have a pretty good alternative right now in Ryan," Amaro said. "We've got a lot of confidence in him."
But Amaro said Lidge's status also could change what the team does before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"We've been trying to upgrade on our staff," he said. "You can never have enough pitching going down the stretch and you always like to try to add pitching. The fact that we're going to be missing Brad for a couple weeks and maybe longer that may change our strategy. It may put more focus on a bullpen piece. It may not."
PHI: LHP Cole Hamels (4-2, 4.40 ERA)
Hamels looked like the pitcher who earned World Series MVP honors on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. He threw his first shutout of the season and third of his career in a 3-0 victory over the Dodgers. Hamels allowed just five hits. He struck out five. And perhaps just as impressive as his line, he threw just 97 pitches. The key? Hamels kept the ball down in the strike zone, which meant any time a Dodgers player made contact he seemed to be grounding out or popping up -- instead of fouling back a pitch and keeping the at-bat going.
Pelfrey allowed eight earned runs -- a career high -- and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings to the Pirates on Thursday, and the Mets lost for the second time in his eight most recent starts. His pitches were up throughout that appearance. Now he faces Pennsylvania's other team. Pelfrey has beaten the Phillies twice this season -- May 1 and May 7, allowing six runs and 15 hits in 12 1/3 innings. He had no strikeouts in either start. Ryan Howard, Jason Werth, Greg Dobbs and Pedro Feliz have 17 hits in 42 career at-bats against Pelfrey. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins have six hits in 27 career at-bats. Tidbits
Howard's solo home run to right-center field in the fourth inning Tuesday was the 195th of his career. That tied him for eighth place on the Phillies' all-time list with Bobby Abreu. ... The Phils entered Tuesday's series opener against the Mets ranked second in the National League in runs scored in the seventh inning or later with 105. Only the Dodgers had scored more with 119. Twenty-eight of the Phillies' 78 homers this season entering Tuesday had come in the seventh inning or later to lead the league. ... In their previous 10 road games, Phils starters were 6-0 with a 2.15 ERA. Tickets
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Thursday: Phillies (Jamie Moyer, 4-5, 6.27) at Mets (Tim Redding, 0-2, 6.97), 7:10 p.m. ET
Friday: Phillies (Joe Blanton, 4-3, 5.46) vs. Red Sox (Jon Lester, 5-5, 5.09), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Phillies (Antonio Bastardo, 2-0, 2.45) vs. Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 1-4, 7.33), 7:05 p.m. ET
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.