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Keep The Change: There’s A Flood At The Bank

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Fri, June 19, 2009 12:00 PM Comments: 15

This is “Keep the Change,” a Friday feature by Nick “The Beer Man” Staskin. Nick is a beer man at Citizens Bank Park; he’ll post weekly with observations from the fans at the park, trying to get a good sense of where the Phillies stand in the eyes of those who most matter.

Beerman

This week seems to have brought new meaning to the phrase, “when it rains it pours.”

I am taking a break from building my arc, with two of every beer to reach out to the fans.

Caught in the midst of their annual interleague swoon (last year the Phillies went 4-11 against the American League), the Phils were hit with some more bad news. They were forced to put first-half MVP, Raul Ibanez, on the disabled list with groin issues.

Despite the 1-5 stretch to start the home stand, the lead atop the National League East is still three games (thanks, Mets). I’m not too worried about the Ibanez injury: While his numbers will be missed, it is best to get these things out of the way early.

This week’s column will mirror those in the past though … some things that are definitely pressing the minds of the fans in the crowds.

The rotation, rotation, rotation…

I’m not writing off Antonio Bastardo yet; it might not have been his night. The Red Sox can hit. Who knows what would have happened had the sky opened up with what seems to be nonstop rain? But what if tonight doesn’t go well? Then it’s back to the drawing board with the rookie.

J. A. Happ has been serviceable and is allowed a stinker, so I will let that one slide.

However, the inconsistencies of Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton still have the fans scratching their heads. Which Blanton is going to show up? The guy who pitched seven strong innings against the Red Sox last Friday? Or the guy who got poked around for the better part of Thursday afternoon?

If the Phillies are serious about making a deal for a big arm, there is no time like the present. Just because the trade deadline is at the end of July, it doesn’t mean you have to wait that long to pull the trigger. But with the recent DL stints of Jake Peavy and Erik Bedard and the “untouchable, but we’ll listen” Roy Halladay, well I simply don’t know where that help is coming from.

The pen

I’m not down on Ryan Madson. Unfortunately, he is the only one I’m not down on. While a home run against — ugh it stings to even say it … Rod Barajas — is a horrible way to lose a game (especially when you add in Tuesday’s blown save) Madson is the only arm out of the bullpen I trust right now.

Clay Condrey has come crashing back to Earth, allowing 17 base runners and eight earned runs in his last 6.1 innings pitched.

J.C. Romero can’t seem to find the plate, walking 10 men in his nine appearances this season.

I’ve never been a big Chad Durbin guy, and then you can factor in the revolving door of minor-leaguers who have been called up to eat innings the past two weeks, along with Chan Ho Park and Jack Taschner.

It’s easy to say that this year’s bullpen is not fairing as well as the Romero-Madson-Lidge trio that was so huge for the Phillies en route to the World Series last year.

I-95 Series

It is not time to panic though, far from it. This is still a first-place team. Don’t write off the Orioles, though. This is a team with some bats. Luckily, they don’t have much in the arms department.

They are a team the Phillies should be able to beat. I’m expecting to see a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard this weekend. Bastardo might have another rough go of it, and hopefully he can mix in some more off-speed pitches and breaking balls to fool the O’s batters on Friday night.

However, I am predicting a series win at The Bank — the Phillies first against a team other than the Washington Nationals.

  • 15 Comments
 

Keep The Change: World War Brewing

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Fri, June 12, 2009 12:00 PM Comments: 5

This is “Keep the Change,” a Friday feature by Nick “The Beer Man” Staskin. Nick is a beer man at Citizens Bank Park; he’ll post weekly with observations from the fans at the park, trying to get a good sense of where the Phillies stand in the eyes of those who most matter.

BeermanHappy Friday! I know I’m not the only Phillies fan who went to bed smiling last night.

I attended The Arc of Philadelphia’s charity event at McFadden’s Ballpark with many others from Phillies Nation. Needless to say, Raul Ibanez sent everybody home happy with his three-run shot in the top of 10th.

When the series started, I told many that I thought this was a one-game series. Turns out I was right. I figured it would be unlikely that we would top Johan Santana, and at the same time thought that Cole Hamels would easily secure game two. While Wednesday’s game wasn’t the cakewalk I had expected, it did go down as another win. Another gritty, come-from-behind win.

That brought us to Thursday. Jamie Moyer vs. Tim Redding. Is it me, or does it seem like Redding is only good against the Phillies? Despite falling behind early again, it was the heart of the Phils that tied the game late, again by manufacturing runs, not with the long ball. Then well we know how it ended … with a four-game lead in the National League East.

The Red Sox Are Coming

When you watch the Phillies road games this year, it has become a staple of the broadcast to show the fans that made the trek to follow the squad. I know that when I attended Yankee Stadium a few weeks ago – my mug was all over the TV.

Let me tell you, other team’s fans hate when we take over their ballpark. Now the Red Sox bring their act to The Bank. I am pleading, begging, down on both knees praying that Phillies season-ticket holders did not give up their tickets to these games to make a quick buck and sell them to BoSox fans.

The last time Boston came to town the crowd was split 50-50 – at best – for us … it might have actually been worse. To me, there is no fan more obnoxious than a Red Sox fan, and that includes Mets fans. While I hate the Mets more, I can’t stand Sox fans. After they broke their curse a few years back, they walked around like they owned baseball. Loud, obnoxious – even the girls wearing the pink hats get under my skin.

Let’s show them who the W-F-Champions are! Represent this weekend. While the nation’s spotlight might be on the Subway Series, this is a huge series for the Phillies. With the Fightins coming off a 7-3 road trip, these next nine games at home are huge. Starting it off with a series win against a World Series contender is a great way to start this set of Interleague play and remind people the road to the trophy runs through Philadelphia.

The Arc of Philadelphia Event

I had a great time at McFadden’s with Rob Cowie, Brian Michael and tons of other Phillies phans. This was a great cause, and I think I speak for the majority of the people in attendance when I say that I will be back next year. Not to mention, a certain beermanning columnist won a $100 gift card to the Borgata. Sad thing? That gift card probably gives me the right to drop a few hundred at the tables when I head down to AC.

  • 5 Comments
 

Keep the Change: Tales from the Aisles

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Thu, June 04, 2009 08:22 PM Comments: 9

Sorry for the delay folks. With the short home stand, and the hangovers that followed my sister’s wedding and Memorial Day…well safe to say, I was not the world’s best beerman the last two weeks.

Anywho…onto the ramblings.

Brett Myers, El Bastardo and Mr. Happ

About two years ago, a friend of mine turned me onto Antonio Bastardo. There are man crushes and then there is the love that my friend Brian had for this kid two years ago. While he has only made one start, it was a beauty to watch. When Myers went down, I led the charge for panic. Peavy, Bedard, Pedro, Sheets. You name them, I wanted them in red pinstripes. If Bastardo can put up decent numbers (nobody is looking for Cy Young stuff out of the kid) maybe we don’t have to hit the panic room button and lock ourselves into giving away tons of prospects right away. Maybe, we sit on Bastardo for a while, see how Jamie Moyer continues to rebound and make a logical decision without selling the farm.

However, pitching in Petco against the Padres will help anybody. Let’s see how Sunday night goes against the Dodgers before we run to change our boxer shorts out of pure glee.

J.A. Happ? Well this guy is getting the job done. It isn’t often the fans hit one right on the head, but I do recall the public’s reaction to the Chan Ho Park signing. Now Park is relegated to mop-up duty, and earning a nice salary to do so, while Happ continues to mow down the opposition. It really makes you think how many of the early season outings could have been Ws instead of Ls had Happ started the season in the rotation, rather than Park.

Road Warriors

Not since the days of Hawk and Animal (aka the Legion of Doom) has a team dominated on the road like this year’s Phillies squad. Going into Thursday night’s game, the Phils were 19-6 on the road…a .760 clip!??! To put this in perspective, imagine a team going 62-19 on the road all season, because that is the pace Manuel’s boys are at right now.

The Rivalry

After the four-game set against LA, the Phils head east to play the Mets…who just got swept out of Pittsburgh might I add. With a nice cushion going into weekend play, I expect the Phils to head into ShitiField with a moderate lead. Now last time we made the trek up I-95, I got a little heat for a comment about the way Mets fans smelled (like hoagies). Well this time around, I’m going to keep my mouth shut for the time being…too bad I type with my fingers…they still smell like hoagies!

GO PHILS!

  • 9 Comments
 

Keep The Change: The ‘Lost’ Lidge

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Fri, May 15, 2009 12:00 PM Comments: 11

This is “Keep the Change,” a new feature by Nick “The Beer Man” Staskin. Nick is a beer man at Citizens Bank Park; he’ll post weekly with observations from the fans at the park, trying to get a good sense of where the Phillies stand in the eyes of those who most matter.

BeermanAnother home stand. Another losing record. Somehow, the Phillies, a team that thrived in their own stadium during the homestretch last year, is a measly 8-12 at Citizens Bank Park this to open the season.

When you start 20 of your team’s first 32 games in your home confines, a 16-16 start should be considered a lot more than just underachieving. There is a lot more going wrong than just the starting pitching — which has been the red-headed stepchild of the media lately — so I asked some of the patrons of The Bank what concerned them most. Keep in mind this wasn’t why do you think the team is struggling right now, but what concerned them most going into the summer.

The No. 1 answer shouldn’t surprise anyone … I think we are all a bit worried.

Brad Lidge
If you watch the show “LOST” and haven’t gotten around to watching the season finale, skip below …

***SPOILER ALERT***

A friend of mine recently wondered: If there can be a dead John Locke in a crate from the plane, as well as one walking the island, is there another Brad Lidge lying around somewhere? Going into this weekend’s set against the Nationals, Lidge has been awful, atrocious, abysmal … I could keep going. Something is not right with the man who was the difference maker last season.

Lidge has allowed at least one earned run in his last five outings, and has allowed the opposition to score in eight of his 15 appearances this year. The number that scares me the most is his WHIP, which is fluttering right around 2.00.

While Lidge has certainly earned the right to be the Phillies closer until Charlie Manuel sees fit, and not when the fans think its time for the hook, how much longer can Charlie let him struggle while Ryan Madson continues to mow them down? I wouldn’t be surprised if a DL stint is right around the corner.

This weekend
Okay. Enough beating up on the boys. This weekend, the doctor has the right prescription … hopefully. A four-game set against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park 2.0, Nationals Park. While the Nats have turned it around somewhat after a horrible start, this is a team the Phillies should be able to beat up on while trying to fix some of their problems.

On Saturday, Phillies Nation will be making its annual trek down to D.C. While I’m sure we will see some of you there, I am personally looking forward to this year’s caravan of buses that we have making the ride down Interstate 95.

If you happen to be on the bus I’ll be running (which our own Rob Cowie has dubbed “The Badloads Bus”), expect a good Beer Man time. While the other buses will also have a great time, it seems that people are expecting a little more out of our bus for some reason. Go figure.

We have tons of giveaways and prizes this year, which will be up for grabs in a game of “Stump the Beer Man.” Think “Stump the Schwab,” but Beer Man style, since people say I look like his son.

I look forward to seeing you all for a great time Saturday!

  • 11 Comments
 

Keep The Change: Hey, New Yawk!

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Wed, May 06, 2009 12:00 PM Comments: 119

This is “Keep the Change,” a new feature by Nick “The Beer Man” Staskin. Nick is a beer man at Citizens Bank Park; he’ll post weekly with observations from the fans at the park, trying to get a good sense of where the Phillies stand in the eyes of those who most matter.

BeermanWelcome to the second edition of “Keep the Change.”

Don’t look know, but going into their second short series in a week against the Mets, the Phils are the hottest team in the National League and have risen to the top of the NL East. What did we take out of last weekend’s series? Well … not much … not much at all really after Sunday’s rain, which hasn’t left the area since, washing out the rubber match.

The Two-Game Split
Friday night, the excitement was in the air. Sadly, Chan Ho Park was on the mound. Last week, a couple readers questioned whether the fans knew anything about J.A. Happ. After another ugly start by Park, more and more fans are getting familiar the possibility of seeing Happ in the rotation. Phillies fans are generally a pretty well-educated bunch, and it doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to see that Park won’t be in the rotation for much longer. Joe Blanton’s strong start Monday night against the Cardinals definitely did not help Park’s status, either.

One fan summed up Park as “this year’s Adam Eaton.” Tough to argue with him. Hell, the Mets fans at The Bank were pretty happy when Charlie Manuel let Park work through his struggles, just because it meant more innings out of him.

Saturday, the Phils got to the Mets bullpen. The Achilles heel of New York was right back at it again. If you can leave K-Rod sitting in the bullpen, chances are you are going to put up some runs. If you told me the Phillies would manufacture a run without getting the ball out of the infield to win a game, I’d be pretty surprised. If you had told me it would come against the Mets bullpen … not as surprised.

The Rivalry … Slows Down?
Will the Mets fans dish it out as hard as we did last weekend? Tough to tell, but something was missing this weekend. I know it was early in the season, but it didn’t seem as many New Yorkers made the trek down the Turnpike as they had in years past. I guess walking into the stadium of the World F’n Champions can be a little intimidating.

Finally, two random observations from walking the stadium:

  • I did not see one attractive female Mets fan. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above looking at a woman regardless of if she likes the enemy. The Beerman’s eyes don’t discriminate. Could I date a Mets fan? Of course not, but I’d look. BUT THERE WERE NONE IN ATTENDANCE! The Phillies female followers did not disappoint, as always.
  • Mets fans smell like hoagies. I don’t know what it is. But all Mets fans smell like hoagies to me. When they walk past me, I just pick up a whiff of salami and onions. Go figure.

See you in the stands … or next week. Whichever comes first?

  • 119 Comments
 

Keep The Change: ‘Ruaaaaaaaal!’

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Thu, April 30, 2009 12:00 PM Comments: 27

This is “Keep the Change,” a new feature by Nick “The Beer Man” Staskin. Nick is a beer man at Citizens Bank Park; he’ll post weekly with observations from the fans at the park, trying to get a good sense of where the Phillies stand in the eyes of those who most matter.

BeermanHello all! Being a Beer man at Citizens Bank Park, I hear a lot while roaming the stands. The boys here at Phillies Nation have given me the opportunity to share with you what other fans are talking, ranting and screaming about on a weekly basis.

We will touch on some of the good stuff, some of the bad stuff and well some of the ridiculous stuff.

Raul Ibanez

I can’t remember one player who has won over the fans in a shorter time than RAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUULLLLLLLL.

Since my sections are primarily in left field, it is hard to not hear the love that is crying out for the Phillies new leftfielder. Ibanez is off to a torrid pace and has given the fans something to talk about.

Going into this weekend’s series against the Mets, Ibanez is first or second in every offensive category on the team…including stolen bases. The excitement behind the new slugger is certainly justified. However, the thing fans need to remember is that Pat Burrell was notorious for putting up some big Aprils.

If Ibanez can contribute throughout the year and give some well needed protection behind Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth in the 5 and 6 spot in the lineup, the Phillies should have no problem topping last year’s run total of 799.

One last tidbit: Ibanez projected totals through April: .359 BA, 57 HR, 138 RBI.
Burrell’s projected totals through last April: .326 BA, 48 HR, 144 RBI.

The Pitching

Comeback wins can definitely make you forget that the team has an ERA floundering close to 6.00. While the wins have been exciting, the Phils’ pitching has been anything but.

The general consensus seems to be that eventually Cole Hamels will stop getting unlucky, settle down and stop leaving games with freak injuries. Brett Myers has already started to turn it around and keep the ball in the stadium and Jamie Moyer is what he is. Joe Blanton and Chan Ho Park? The fans aren’t as optimistic. People seem to think it is only a matter of time before J.A. Happ is in the rotation…but who will he replace? That is anybody’s guess. Blanton and Park have been almost equally awful; with Blanton being a tad worse as his WHIP is an awful 1.97.

Best Thing in the Seats This Week?

A sign in section 141 on Wednesday night that a 20-something year old man was holding:

“Thank You Pat…But Rual Is All That”

I’m not sure who Rual is…but the phans sure did get a good laugh out if it…

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