Ryan Madson gave up a one-out walk and a single in the eighth inning of Wednesday night’s game in New York, giving the Yankees an opportunity with the Washington Nationals up 5-4 at the time, but a swinging K and a fly to left got him out of the jam and the Nats held on for a win to earn a split of their two game set in Yankee Stadium.
Davey Martinez was asked afterwards about showing faith in the right-hander and letting him work his way out of trouble.
“For me it’s, you’ve got to give him confidence,” Martinez said. “I watch his pitch counts and that determines whether we need to get him out or nothing.”
Madson said the key to escaping trouble was remaining calm.
“Just staying calm, knowing that one pitch can get you out, and that’s about it,” the 37-year-old right-hander said. “Just go one pitch at a time, all those fun cliches, but they’re true, and that’s what I was doing.”
The outing before that, against the San Francisco Giants, Madson gave up three hits and a run before back-to-back strikeouts left two runners on base in what was a 6-4 game in the Nationals’ favor, and ended up a 7-5 win.
Sunday afternoon in Toronto’s Rogers Centre, it was tied at 6-6 with the Blue Jays when the Nats’ righty took the mound in the bottom of the eighth and gave up back-to-back, one-out homers on a 97 mph 2-2 fastball to Teoscar Hernandez and an 0-1 curve to Yanervis Solarte.
The homers were the first Madson had given up in 42 2⁄3 IP in a Nationals uniform, the first since June 4, 2017 (when Ryan Zimmerman took Madson deep when he was still with the Oakland A’s), and according to Fangraphs.com, the second of two was first home run that the veteran reliever has ever given up on a curveball.
Madson told reporters after the Nationals’ loss, that he had actually been thinking recently about how long it had been since he gave up a homer.
“I’ve been thinking about it a little bit, cause it seems like it’s been a while,” Madson said. “I remember I only gave up a couple in ‘17, so it’s kind of been on my mind for the last, probably couple weeks, so maybe now that it’s over I don’t have to think about it anymore.”
“His stuff was really good,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said. “He topped at 97 today, so, but you know the one ball was pretty much right down the middle, and then the next one the same. It happens, but he had good stuff today.”
“No command really,” Madson said. “Stuff was good, but no command of it. I think that was the major issue there with the fastball. Probably wrong pitch and wrong location, so missed twice on that one and that’s what happens to a good hitter.
“The second one I don’t know, that kind surprised me. It’s been a long time since somebody hit a curveball for a home run, so but it’s going to happen.”
Hard as the Nationals fought, they ended up getting swept in their three-game set with the Blue Jays.
“The guys fought all day for that game, going back and forth, scoring runs late,” Madson said. “I was out there trying to stay calm and watching the team come back and tie it up there. So I envisioned the inning going a lot different than that.
“Obviously, get those guys back in the dugout with a tie, and they’ll probably score a run right there. So it’s a tough one for me, but sometimes it happens.”