The Phillies tried Ryan Madson as a starter in 2006 and things didn’t go very well. Madson made 17 starts in which he threw to a 6.28 ERA and wound up doing most of his work for the year pitching in relief. He finished the season with a 5.69 ERA.

Since then he’s had three years as a full-time reliever and in each of the three seasons he’s pitched to an ERA in the 3.05 to 3.10 range with a ratio in the 1.22 to 1.27 range. Here’s a look at how his numbers for this year for striking batters out and allowing runs, hits, walks, doubles and triples and home runs per 100 plate appearances compare to his numbers for the last two seasons:

  ERA Ratio R/100 H/100 BB/100 2B+3B/100 HR/100 SO/100
2007 3.05 1.27 8.02 20.25 9.70 4.22 2.11 18.14
2008 3.05 1.23 8.53 23.24 6.76 5.00 1.76 19.71
2009 3.10 1.22 8.66 22.02 7.22 3.25 2.17 24.19

Despite the very similar ERAs for the three year, Madson has his walk rate down significantly in the past two seasons compared to 2007. He is striking out a lot more hitters this year, but allowing home runs at his highest rate for the three seasons. While his home run rate is up, his rate for allowing extra-base hits that aren’t home runs is down a lot. In 2008 he was allowing about 1.54 times the doubles and triples per 100 plate appearances that he has in 2009.

The thing that’s a little worrisome about Madson’s year in 2009 is that if you divide what he’s done this season nearly in half, the first half was a lot better than the second. Madson didn’t allow a home run in his first 34 appearances on the year before June 18. On that day the Phils and Jays went into the top of the ninth tied at 7-7 and Rod Barajas hit a solo homer off of Madson. The Phils lost 8-7. Those first 34 appearances are just about half of his work for the year — he’s faced 138 batters before June 18 and 139 on June 18 or after. The numbers before that date are a whole lot better:

  ERA Ratio R/100 H/100 BB/100 2B+3B/100 HR/100 SO/100
4/8/09 to
6/16/09
2.16 1.11 5.80 18.84 7.97 2.90 0.00 26.81
6/18/09 to
9/9/09
4.05 1.32 11.51 25.18 6.47 3.60 4.32 21.58

With the exception of walks, pretty much everything has been going in the wrong direction for Madson since the day he allowed his first home run of the season. His rates for allowing hits and doubles and triples are way up, and his strikeouts down, but by far the biggest factor for him is that after not allowing a home run in his first 33 1/3 innings of the season he has allowed six in his last 33 1/3.

Not to be forgotten in all of this is that Madson was outstanding in the post-season last season, throwing to a 2.13 ERA and an 0.87 ratio in 11 appearances. He’s also on pace to throw a few less innings this season, about 79 after throwing 82 2/3 in ’08. The thing about ’08, though, was that Madson was fantastic at the end of the regular season as well as in the post-season. In his last 14 appearances in the regular season in ’08 he was charged with one earned run, throwing to an 0.64 ERA with an 0.93 ratio and striking out 17 in 14 innings.

Andy Tracy and Sergio Escalona are up. Rodrigo Lopez has been released.

The article linked above says that Moyer will take Happ’s start on Saturday. It also says that Kendrick will likely start one of the double-header games on Sunday, which would go a long way towards removing #DIV/0! from the Start Log.