On Sunday, Washington Nationals fill-in closer Ryan Madson allowed a walk-off grand slam, and he could the latest player deemed “in the way” by Mike Rizzo.
The Washington Nationals season was dealt a colossal blow on Sunday night with a devastating loss to the Chicago Cubs. It was Ryan Madson who blew the save by allowing a game-ending grand slam, and it will be interesting to see how Mike Rizzo handles this.
Blowing the save in this manner is one thing, as even the best do it and it could have been forgivable. But news that emerged after the game appears to make what happened in the ninth inning unforgivable.
Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reported that Madson had “been dealing with back pain that sends shooting pain down his leg, made it hard to finish pitches and maintain accuracy”.
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In a follow-up tweet, Janes also mentioned that he felt the injury during his warm up the injury was affecting his grip of the ball, meaning he was restricted to just his fastball. It’s fair to wonder, after these comments, whether Nationals management even knew of the injury.
If they were aware of the injury, then it’s hard to see why they would leave him in there with shaky command, evidenced by the two HBPs. Also, after hitting Willson Contreras to load the bases, pitching coach Derek Lilliquist came to the mound, giving Madson another opportunity to own up. He didn’t.
While there may be some issue with a good system to communicate injuries, it’s not hard to let management know in order to prevent it from costing the team. Madson’s decision not to inform the team obviously did cost the team in a big way.
Well, just as Rizzo backed his manager by getting rid of Kelley after the glove throwing incident, it could be a good time to send another message. Releasing Madson would make it crystal clear that this is about the team, and you need to own up to anything that will severely affect your performance.
The Washington Nationals now have to seemingly do the impossible and recover from Sunday’s crushing defeat. Whether they do so with or without Ryan Madson, is another matter.