Quantcast


Keep The Change

Keep The Change: It Was The Worst of Times…

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Wed, June 02, 2010 08:00 PM Comments: 28

It’s no secret that it’s much easier to write a column when things aren’t going smoothly.  That being said, this column kind of writes itself.

A few weeks back, many of us looked at this past road trip as a way to put some distance between the Phillies and the competition. Sadly, it did, just not the way we figured. The Phillies now find themselves 2.5 games behind the Braves.

Where to start?

During Jimmy Rollins first absence, the rest of the lineup was hitting and the Phillies seemingly didn’t skip a beat. The second time around has not gone nearly as smooth.  Nobody is hitting. At all. In the least.

Wilson Valdez, for some ungodly reason has been hitting in the number two hole, meanwhile the team’s on base leader, Carlos Ruiz continues to hit seventh or eighth. Go figure. While it looked awful on paper, there hadn’t been a specific moment that I could point to that could really help show the general public how terrible this idea was.

Then Wednesday afternoon happened. With Jayson Werth in the leadoff hole, Charlie Manuel  kept Valdez in the two spot. Fast forward to the eigth inning. With a man on third and first base open, Bobby Cox makes the easiest move in the history of baseball, walking Werth to get to Utley. Manuel, sticking by his oldschool ways let Valdez hit for himself, keeping Shane Victorino on the bench, and thus blowing the late inning opportunity that would be the team’s last for the game.

Manuel later decided it would be a good idea to pinch hit Shane for Raul Ibanez in the ninth. I doubt there is a Phillies Nation reader who doesn’t know of my disdain for Ibanez, but seriously? Going with Valdez over Victorino, only to go with Victorino over Ibanez an inning later made zero sense.

The Valdez move isn’t the only lineup move that has led people to question the skipper.

Monday’s one-two combination of Russ Gload and Greg Dobbs was wildly laughed at by baseball experts throughout their collective websites, twitters and such. The duo combined to go 0-5, getting on base once as Dobbs walked.

The only solace for Phillies fans is that its not just the top of the lineup that isn’t hitting. However, when a team is marred in a slump like this, the in-game managing will be brought to question along with everything else. The in- game stuff has never been Manuel’s forte, but the team hasn’t been in a rut like this in years. Manuel has never had a problem reaching the team, and I’m not calling for his head by any means.

But somebody in his inner circle, has to be able to help steer Charlie in the right direction. Hitting Valdez in the two-spot just after they had decided to send him down sends question marks to the fans.

Perhaps some home cooking is what the Phils need. The friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park welcome the Phillies for seven straight this coming week.

Maybe Ryan Howard will find his power stroke that made Ruben Amaro sign him to that massive contract extension.

Maybe Chase Utley will find what many think to be one of the sweetest swings in baseball and get a multi-hit game.

Maybe Jayson Werth will get back to hitting like the guy we all so desperately  wanted the front office to lock up for years to come.

Maybe Charlie Manuel will stick with a lineup that makes sense and not lead us to question the guy who has delivered the team back-to-back pennants.

And maybe, just maybe Jimmy Rollins will return healthy sooner than later, kick some ass in the locker room, and get back to leading the team that is in such dire need of a verbal asskicking right now.

  • 28 Comments
 

Keep The Change: Wrapping Up The Nats Series

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Thu, April 15, 2010 10:58 PM Comments: 51

Well the series with the Nationals is over, and as I sit here resting up after a busy couple of days at the ballpark a few more thoughts popped into my head. Without further adieu…

•Am I the only one who is a little upset that we are only 4-2 against the Nationals this year? Granted if we win every series, it will be the most successful season in Phillies history, but against the Nationals I feel as if one of these two series should have ended in a sweep. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit concerned about the upcoming 12 games against Marlins, Braves, D-Backs and Giants. Anything less than 7-5 is a disappointment, but I think 8-4 is what the majority of the fans will be looking for. However, with the April struggles that have plagued this team over the years, a 7-2 record, no matter the opponents is nothing to scoff at.

•I know I said that I think Cole Hamels deserves some time before the boo birds swarm, however all starting pitchers not named Roy Halladay will need to improve if this team is going to keep up its current pace. Jamie Moyer is the only starter to finish the sixth inning in any game this season besides Halladay, and he wasn’t exactly stellar in his start.

JA Happ’s 8 BB in 10.1 IP have got to scare you. Last season, he was notorious for pitching out of jams, which led a lot of baseball experts to say the rookie was lucky. In two starts this season, he is still yet to give up an unearned run. I’m just not exactly sure that he can continue to pitch out of trouble unscathed. High pitch counts have limited both of his starts this year, causing Charlie Manuel to go to the pen earlier than he would like. It is no secret, the less the starters pitch, the more the bullpen will get hit. We all know the best bullpen is a well-rested bullpen, as evidenced by today’s loss. Before today, the bullpen had been excellent, so I don’t think we need to jump off a bridge after one bad performance. But some food for thought: all starters not named Roy Halladay have a combined ERA of 7.51 (inflated by Kendrick, but evened out with Happ’s 0.00) and a combined WHIP of 1.87.

•It is hard to judge the team after only nine games; however the offense is off to a start that has videogame like projections in mind, look at these full season projections:

-Placido Polanco: .475 234 R 18 HR 198 RBI 18K

-Ryan Howard: .385 126 R 54 HR 234 RBI .734 SLG

-Chase Utley .343 216 R 90 HR 198 RBI 162 BB 1.421 OPS

-Carlos Ruiz .273 137 R 183 BB .467 OPS out of the 8 hole!

-Jimmy Rollins .391 184 R 161 BB 46 SB .516 OBP this was of course before the calf injury.

Of course these are ridiculous projections, but no reason not to have a little fun. One can dream right?

•The one part of the offense that is not clicking is, in my opinion, the most overrated Phillie on the team. Raul Ibanez was free from the boos last year after living off of a scorching hot April and May. After his injury last season, Ibanez never seemed to recover. His spring was one to be forgotten, and aside from last Friday’s game against Houston, Ibanez has almost no-showed the other eight games so far. With all the runs being scored by this team, it seems hard to believe that Ibanez has only driven in runs in three games this season. Nine games is only nine games, so it’s still way too early to go off the deep end, but if you carry over June-September of last year, spring training this year, and the first week and a half of the 2010 it can definitely set off an alarm of worry.

If you exclude his game against Houston last Friday, Ibanez is 4-27 with one extra-base hit to go along with 2 RBIs. Right now, his teammates are picking up the slack by putting up absurd numbers; hopefully he takes this time to figure out what is wrong. If not, it won’t be long until the fans turn on him as quickly as they did on Pat Burrell and we hear the name Domenic Brown a lot more.

Hope everyone enjoys this year’s first weekend at The Bank, aside from a few scattered storms tomorrow night for the home debut of Roy Halladay the weather doesn’t look too bad, just a bit chilly. See you in left field.

  • 51 Comments
 

Keep the Change: Tales from the Aisles

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Fri, July 24, 2009 03:33 PM Comments: 19

We are one week away from Major League Baseball’s July 31st trade deadline. With seven days to go, the big name still fluttering around the rumor mill is Roy Halladay. On top of that, it was recently heard that Ruben Amaro has pulled the tag “untouchable” off of Kyle Drabek’s nameplate…what does this mean?

I’m not sure. However, I do think there are other areas of need: Specifically a right-handed bat off the bench, maybe a utility infielder and the always needed bullpen help.

Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero to the DL

Personally, I didn’t mind these two going on the disabled list too much. When Durbin is in and it is a big spot, it seems like it is only because the guys you want in there can’t go. And as for Romero, he simply couldn’t throw strikes.

In his 15.2 innings pitched since coming back from his suspension, Romero has walked 13 batters and only struck out 12. On top of that, the former left-handed specialist saw lefties hitting him at a .292 clip. Last year, left-handed bats hit a paltry .108 against him.

Hopefully two weeks away from the scene can fix any arm problems he might have, and J.C. can get back to the form that helped lock down the end of ball games last year.

Patchwork

While the two relievers mend their injuries, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Phillies made a move that flew a bit under the giving up the farm radar. With names like George Sherrill, Danys Baez and Chad Qualls floating around the news tap, there are many arms to be had.

Last year, the Phillies struck gold with Scott Eyre after the deadline had passed. Look for a similar type deal to go down shortly, one that doesn’t give up a top prospect for a player who will fill a role that will probably be unappreciated until its time to look back at the deals that made the biggest difference.

Takin’ to the seats

Over the past week, I polled 100 random fans I served beer to with two different questions. What would your response be?

What is the biggest reason for the Phillies latest hot streak?

  1. Jimmy Rollins turnaround – 55%
  2. Quality starting pitching – 31%
  3. Return of Raul Ibanez – 8%
  4. No reason at all – 6%

Guess it’s the old saying, as Rollins goes, so do the Phillies.

Would you give up Kyle Drabek, J.A. Happ and Michael Taylor for Roy Halladay?

  1. Yes – 71%
  2. No – 29%

Seven out of ten people pull the trigger…I’m still not sure if I do. One way or another, I won’t be upset. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be looking into the rumor mills on an hourly basis.

  • 19 Comments
 

Keep The Change: Home, Sweet Home

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Fri, July 10, 2009 02:00 PM Comments: 17

BeermanNow this is a homestand. Winning games late. Coming back in games. Holding onto leads. This is reminiscent of 2008.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates coming into town this weekend, the Phillies have a chance to go 10 games over .500 heading into the All-Star Break, and a realistic opportunity at a 9-1 home stand. A far cry from the last time the World Champs were at home.

But what’s changed?

Rollins is rolling

Last week, I was set to pose the question of what you would do right now with Jimmy Rollins. He responded so quick that the question never got the chance to be raised.

Rollins steamrolled through the Mets and has hit safely in every game on the homestand. His average is up 18 points since the start of last Friday’s game, and Rollins has scored seven runs during the same stretch.

We’ve heard it and seen it before: as Rollins goes, so do the Phillies. Well Rollins is “going” and the Phightins are winning. Go figure.

Werth it

While kudos go out to Shane Victorino on snagging the last All-Star spot, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have looked over to right field for the second most-deserving Phillies outfielder.

Even prior to Werth’s four-game homer streak, he is putting up numbers that deserved to be recognized. Despite his average of .268, Werth has 20 home runs to go along with 12 stolen bases 54 runs, 59 RBI and an on-base percentage of .373.

To put that in perspective, he is tracking: .268, 117 R, 40 HR, 107 RBI and 24 SB.

Werth is on track to have more homers, runs batted in and runs scored than Ryan Braun, Carlos Lee and Miguel Cabrera.

Pedro and Halladay

With the expected signing of Pedro Martinez and the nonstop Roy Halladay rumors floating throughout Citizens Bank Park, a couple fans asked me what I would do if I was the general manager.

The way I see it, Martinez is a low-risk, high reward deal. I’ll take Martinez over Rodrigo Lopez and Antonio Bastardo any day. If he doesn’t have it, then you go back to the drawing board like you have since Brett Myers went down. If he is serviceable, he might even be an upgrade over the inconsistent Jamie Moyer.

As for Halladay, I don’t care what it costs. You don’t turn any deal down. With no team wanting to step up and seize the National League, the acquisition of Roy Halladay makes the Phillies the hands-down favorite to win the senior circuit. The Dodgers may have the best record in the National League, but I’m not sold on them. The bulk of their wins came when the NL West was awful. With the Giants and Rockies turning their seasons around, the Dodgers are sure to come back down to Earth.

Inserting Doc into the rotation gives the Phillies a 1-2 punch that can’t be touched in the National League — maybe even baseball. Sadly, I think any deal bringing Halladay to Philadelphia almost guarantees the departure of J.A. Happ to Toronto. They want a Major League-ready pitcher as part of the deal. To that I say, thanks for your time Happ, but “smell ya later.”

Here’s hoping the Doctor is in … and soon.

  • 17 Comments
 

Keep the Change: Tales from the Aisles

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Thu, July 02, 2009 02:03 PM Comments: 5

BeermanWell after seven days, six nights, three canceled flights and seven flight delays, The Beerman is back from Las Vegas.

My plane touched down just in time to watch last night’s debacle of a team effort by Cole Hamels and company. I, like you, can only shake my head in despair. What is wrong with the Phillies right now?

From the Road Warriors to the Bushwhackers

A few weeks back we joked that the Phillies were as dominant as the 1990s WWE tag team of Animal and Hawk, however lately the team’s play on the road has been pitiful. With the exception of Tuesday night, the losses on this road trip have been something to forget. Twice, the Phillies have gone late into the game without a sole hit, and four of the team’s five losses have been by five or more runs.

A win tonight can put the team at 4-5 on the nine-game swing; however, I highly doubt that I am the only one who wouldn’t think this trip was nearly as close as the record indicates.

Burning Cole

The job of an ace is to go out and get you a win the day after a loss – to stop the bleeding. When the Yankees were racking up World Series wins in the late 90s, nobody was better at getting a win after a loss than Andy Pettitte. However, during this road trip Cole Hamels has had that opportunity twice. To say he has dropped the ball would be an understatement. You can claim he was squeezed by the umpires, but excuses are like, well the word rhymes with cassmoles, we all have them, and they all stink.

Hamels line during the road trip: 8.2 IP, 13 H, 11 ER, 4 BB and 5K to go along with an 0-2 record.

In fact, in those 8.2 IP, Hamels has thrown 193 pitches. In his complete game shutout of the Dodgers on June 4, he threw 97 pitches. That start was also the only time he has gotten a win in his last six starts.

Jimmy Rollins

I really just don’t know what is wrong with the former MVP. Nothing makes sense. You just can’t forget how to hit, right?

During this upcoming home stand – a HUGE home stand might I add – I will be asking the fans two questions: What do they think is wrong with the Phillies shortstop; and how would they fix it? I will post some of the results in next week’s column.

The Beerman’s Pick of the Week

I’m not much of a shill, but when I find a product I love, I will share it with the readers. Having just bought the new iPhone, I was curious as to what the MLB.Com “At Bat” Application was really about. It seemed like every other inning Chris Wheeler was hawking this mini-commercial. I figured why not, and spent the $9.99 on the application.

Let me tell you, if you are a Phillies fan on the road away from the team, or even just a baseball fan, do yourself a favor and invest the ten dollars.

I was able to sit poolside on my vacation and listen to the Phillies radio feeds during the road-trip, a big treat considering a few of the games weren’t available at the sports books. (By the way, thank you J.A. Happ for Saturday’s shutout…a little +125 action, might I add.) The application puts up all the radio feeds for every game, both the home and away team, and also has one or two live TV feeds of a different game as well.

The best $9.99 a baseball fan can spend according to the guy who is selling $6.75 beers.

  • 5 Comments
 

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