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Madson happy to claim eighth inning

Madson happy to claim eighth inning

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PHILADELPHIA -- In a perfect postseason, Ryan Madson pitches the eighth inning and Brad Lidge pitches the ninth.

That was the way it worked last season when the Phillies won their second World Series in 126 years. That was the way they expected it to be this season as they tried to become the first National League team to win consecutive World Series since the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds.

Pulse
Phillies at a glance
2009 record: 93-69
2008 record: 92-70
NL East champs
NLCS matchup:
Phillies at Dodgers
Postseason tix: Information

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
Madson: Back in business
Werth: Heart of the order
Rollins: Awaiting breakout
Focus: One game at a time
Manuel: Mix & match
Howard: Ready for lefties
Stairs: Shot reverberates
Manuel: New rules for 'pen
Blanton: Arm around team
Pedro: Return to spotlight
Ibanez: Eyes on prize
Rollins: '07 irrelevant
Lidge: Still an option
Lidge: Killer cutter
Roster: Mulling options
Ibanez: Perfect fit
Hamels: Path of the pros
Amaro: Bold decisions
Pedro: Elated to play part
Rollins: No more predictions
Hamels: Back in business
Pitching: Staff in flux
Manuel: Keeps 'em focused
Hamels: Aims for dominance
Lineup: Imperfect but solid
Lee: Ready for playoff debut
Howard: The evolution
Rollins: Excelling on defense
Rotation: Not just big two
Manuel: Steady as she goes
Rollins: Eyes on '09 drama
Howard: The 'Big Piece'
Lee: Lifting Phils' hopes

But as Lidge struggled this season, Madson sometimes closed.

Fortunately for the Phillies, Lidge has rediscovered his mojo this postseason and is back in the ninth inning.

"When he was having his struggles, everybody was willing to step in and do whatever it took, and say we're fine and we'll get it done," Madson said. "But the ideal situation is having him in the ninth, just what he did last year and what he's done his whole career. He's a guy you can trust when the game is on the line, and that's what our team wants, and that's what our team needs in the ninth inning. We're all happy to have him back and put everybody back in our slots where they're comfortable. We're very fortunate to have him back throwing the ball well at this time."

Lidge is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and three saves in four postseason appearances. Madson is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in six appearances after he went 5-5 with a 3.26 ERA and 10 saves in 79 appearances in the regular season.

"I don't know if they expect too much," said Madson, asked if fans sometimes expect too much from relief pitchers. "They expect good things. Most of the time they get that. I think sometimes when fans run into problems is they expect perfection, and I only saw one guy do it ever during the season, and it was Lidge last year. But he still had an ERA. He still gave up some runs, but he never blew a save.

"I think sometimes fans get in the mode of perfect, and that's just impossible. I think that's the only time the fans could realize, hey, nobody is going to be perfect, but as long as they're consistent and you can trust them for the most part, that's as good as you're going to get."

The Phillies' bullpen has been consistent this postseason. It is why they entered Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday night needing just one victory to clinch a berth in the World Series.

"I had no doubt," Madson said. "Once this playoff thing started, [Lidge] had a good attitude. He put everything behind him. He did every time during the season, too, but it was just something different. The way he was throwing the ball just looked so much different than during the regular season when he was struggling, and I think his confidence was there. A lot of it in the ninth inning is mental, and he finally got on that good mental track, and hopefully he continues it the rest of the postseason."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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