The Los Angeles Dodgers made a last-minute addition to their bullpen prior to the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline, first claiming Ryan Madson off waivers and then working out a deal to acquire him from the Washington Nationals.
Madson struggled mightily for the better part of the 2018 season, posting a 5.28 ERA, 4.36 FIP and 1.42 WHIP with 41 strikeouts against 15 walks in 44.1 innings pitched. The Dodgers ultimately bought low and hoped that a change of scenery would suit him well.
Madson wound up making nine regular-season appearances with Los Angeles, seeing his ERA increase by a full run (6.48) in 8.1 innings of work. Still, there were signs of encouragement for the 38-year-old.
After being advised to alter his pitch selection, Madson saw improvements in both strikeouts and walks per nine. That led to him accumulating a minuscule 1.96 FIP with the Dodgers.
Madson was featured on all three postseason rosters and made an additional 11 appearances in October. He was mainly deployed in the middle innings, though Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did entrust Madson at times to pitch in late-game situations.
That backfired in Game 4 of the World Series, when the right-hander yielded a crushing three-run home run to Boston Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland in his final appearance for the Dodgers.
Moreland’s home run cut the Dodgers’ lead to 4-3 after seven innings, and Boston went on to complete the comeback and earn an improbable victory en route to a 3-1 advantage in the Fall Classic.
Prior to his shaky performance in the World Series, Madson came up big for the Dodgers in two previous postseason series against the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers.
Between the National League Division and Championship Series, he allowed only one run in 6.1 innings pitched. Madson earned two wins in that span and struck out six batters compared to issuing just one walk.
Madson was one of seven Dodgers to reach free agency the morning after the World Series concluded. He’s part of a stacked class that is flush with relief pitchers, so it remains to be seen if he’ll land another Major League deal.