In the general malaise surrounding the 1-4 Phils, I overlooked the significance of Ryan Madson's losses in the first two games of the season.
Madson became just the second man on record to lose the first two games of the season for his team. Bill Campbell was the other pitcher losing the first two Red Sox games in 1977.
On April 7, Campbell relieved Hall-of-Famer Fergie Jenkins with two outs in the top of the eighth and the Red Sox ahead of the Indians, 3-2. Campbell gave up a two-run homer to Buddy Bell to tie the score 4-4. In the eleventh, Campbell allowed a run as Frank Duffy scored on a fielder's choice by the great Duane Kuiper as the first baseman, George Scott, went home too late on the play. Dave LaRoche held the Red Sox scoreless in the bottom of the eleventh to secure the win, 5-4.
On April 10, Campbell relieved Reggie Cleveland in the eighth inning of a tie ballgame, 3-3. Campbell left one-third of an inning later after allowing three hits, one intentional walk, and four runs, though two posthumously. The one out he recorded was from a sac bunt. The Indians went on to score 13 runs in the eight and won the game 19-9. Campbell picked up his second loss and owned an ungodly 17.18 ERA.
To make matters worse, Campbell again lost to LaRoche, who entered the ballgame in the bottom of the seventh and got the final out before the Indians' 13-run eighth. When LaRoche left the mound at the end of the seventh, the game was tied 3-3; when he returned to the mound to start the eighth, he had a 16-3 lead. And it was a good thing as he allowed a single, a walk, a wild pitch, and a walk. The bases were loaded and Tom Busby relieved LaRoche. All three runners scored as the Red Sox scored six.
LaRoche's ERA stood at 11.57, but he had beaten Campbell for the second straight night.
At the end of the season, Campbell had amassed a 13-9 record with a 2.96 ERA in 140 innings. He was picked as an All-Star and finished fifth in the Cy Young vote and tenth in MVP voting.
LaRoche would not win another game that year for the Indians. He went 2-2 with a 5.30 ERA in 13 games for Cleveland. Then finished the year (6-5, 3.10 ERA) with California.
So even though Madson still has a 9.00 ERA in five innings pitched so far this year and lost the first two ballgames on extra-inning home runs, he could pull a Bill Campbell and turn his season around.
I also have to add that the Phillies did wise up and a) picked up a reliever, Francisco Rosario, and b) put Ryan Howard back in the cleanup spot. However, Howard has yet to drive in a run, let alone hit a home run, and after an 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and five left in base, is batting just .158. I guess that "protection" issue is not as important right about now as it seemed in the offseason.
Meanwhile, I am counting down the losses until Pat Gillick decides to jettison Charlie "I Need a Friggin'" Manuel in favor of heir apparent, Jimy Williams. Funny that we haven't heard Jimmie Rollins spouting off about the Phils being the team to beat in the East lately.