Bill Baer

Recent articles by Bill Baer


Some Fun Trivia on Cliff Lee’s Start vs. Braves

Cliff Lee was at times awe-inspiring and at other times frustrating in his start against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night. But by the end of the night, he had struck out 13 and walked one en route to a complete game effort in which he took the tough-luck 1-0 loss. Opposing starter Julio Teheran
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MLB Overturns Ryan Howard Error from April 9

From the Brewers Twitter:


The Phillies’ Bullpen Hasn’t Been Overworked

Among the many criticisms about the Phillies that have been tossed out there since the start of the season, the most recent has been that the starting rotation hasn’t been going deep enough into games, forcing manager Ryne Sandberg to rely on his bullpen more heavily and more frequently than he would like. Sandberg himself
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Be Patient, Temper Expectations for Ken Giles

Last night’s bullpen meltdown brought calls for Double-A reliever Ken Giles to a fever pitch. Giles, 23, has gotten off to a fast start with Reading, striking out 14, walking two, notching five saves, all without allowing a single run in six innings of work. Giles throws a fastball which reaches the triple digits along
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Sometimes Bad Things Happen to Good People

Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves was ugly for myriad reasons; the bullpen responsible for nearly all of them. To recap, it was a fairly close game after seven innings. Starter Roberto Hernandez yielded only two runs to the Braves, on a two-run home run by Evan Gattis. Mario Hollands pitched a scoreless seventh
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Phillies Showing Tremendous Plate Discipline

You know about Chase Utley, but how about everyone else? After getting swept by the Brewers, the Phillies turned around and swept the Marlins in a three-game series in which they averaged five runs per game. More shockingly, they drew 15 walks in total over the set, bringing their league-leading walk rate over 10 percent.


Jimmy Rollins’ Walk-Off Home Run in .gifs

Jimmy Rollins was the hero on Saturday night as the Phillies walked off 5-4 winners against the Miami Marlins. Despite Giancarlo Stanton‘s efforts, hitting two home runs — including one that went 470 feet — and knocking in three runs, the bullpen was able to keep the Phillies in the game in the eighth, ninth,
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Chase Utley Is On Fire (Don’t Put Him Out!)

I don’t mean to alarm you, but Chase Utley is on fire. He’s hot, and I don’t mean aesthetically. Utley has hit safely in all eight games he as played in to start the 2014 season, and now has a 13-game hitting streak dating back to last season. In five of his eight games thus
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The Phillies Will Face Jose Fernandez Friday Night — Appreciate It

The Phillies are on a four-game losing streak and are coming off of a series sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers. Just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The defense was awful, as 10 of the 52 runs the Phillies have allowed this season have been unearned. The bullpen has
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Ryne Sandberg Says Ryan Howard’s Knee Injury Still Limiting Defense

In the top of the eighth inning on Wednesday, first baseman Ryan Howard misplayed a Logan Schafer ground ball that allowed a run to score to break a 4-4 tie. Schafer would come around to score on Ryan Braun‘s triple later in the inning as well, meaning the error was a costly one. After the
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Mike Schmidt: Home Plate Umps Shouldn’t Call Balls and Strikes

On ESPN 97.5′s The Fanatic, Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt joined Harry Mayes and Jon Marks and dropped this suggestion about the future of calling balls and strikes:


Roberto Hernandez’s Bat-Missing Game Was on Point

Roberto Hernandez allowed four runs (three earned) over five innings in last night’s start against the Brewers. Not a great start, not a bad start. Considering last night’s bullpen implosion in the eighth and ninth innings, Hernandez’s performance was about the ninth- or tenth-most interesting thing about the game. But broadcaster Tom McCarthy pointed out
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Patience Required with Phillies’ Young Bullpen

The Phillies’ bullpen was yet again a major factor in a loss. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Through eight games, it’s a sentence that is already getting tiresome to write out, particularly since the Phillies are coming off of a season in which they finished with the second-worst bullpen in the National
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Pitchers Approaching Ryan Howard Just How You Thought

No caption necessary. Updated with ISO heat map:


Ryan Braun Continues to Kill the Phillies

Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun entered yesterday’s game with absurd career numbers against the Phillies. His 1.120 OPS against them in in 186 plate appearances was his highest against any team against which he has accrued at least 30 PA. The whole line: .386/.430/.690, 66 H, 8 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, 30 RBI, 6 SB,
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Cole Hamels Could Return Sooner Than Anticipated

Good news, everyone! CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Cole Hamels “feels great” and could need only two more rehab starts before returning to the team. The Inquirer’s Matt Gelb says Hamels is shooting for April 22 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Hamels has been rehabbing after missing spring training with tendonitis in his
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Phillies Could Call on Jonathan Pettibone to Start Saturday

Throughout the spring, we were subjected to the competition between David Buchanan and Jeff Manship for the fifth spot in the Phillies’ rotation – organizational depth against, well, a guy with a career 6.29 ERA. To their credit, both pitched well in a small sample size. Buchanan finished with a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings, while Manship
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Derek Jeter Pulled A Jimmy Rollins on Monday

The year-long Derek Jeter farewell tour is under way. Yankees fans got to see him at home for the first time during the 2014 regular season yesterday against the Orioles. Jeter almost gave them a storybook day, lining a Ubaldo Jimenez offering down the left field line. Everyone — the fans, the YES Network broadcasters,
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ESPN: In Praise of Adrian Beltre

At ESPN, I examined Adrian Beltre‘s underrated career. Is he a future Hall of Famer?


So, Where’s Brad Lincoln?

I promise the bullpen-management posts won’t be so frequent going forward, but this issue is a bit perplexing. During the off-season, GM Ruben Amaro traded back-up catcher Erik Kratz and Minor League pitcher Rob Rasmussen (acquired from the Dodgers in the Michael Young trade) to the Toronto Blue Jays for reliever Brad Lincoln. The Jays
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Credit Where Credit Is Due: Ryne Sandberg Managed Well in Friday’s Win

We — or at least I — have spent many words criticizing the strategy of Phillies managers on this blog over the years. In my quest to be fair, I try to highlight the good as well as the bad, but there’s always some bias in what gets published. The bad gets your attention while
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Pitchers Changing Their Approach to Domonic Brown

In January, I wrote an article about how pitchers had altered their approach to Phillies left fielder Domonic Brown in the second half of last season. After Brown had a ridiculous month of May in which he hit 12 home runs and a productive June in which he hit six homers and drew 12 walks,
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Pat Burrell Can Still Hit Dingers

The Giants broadcast showed a video of former Phillie Pat Burrell taking some casual batting practice before last night’s game against the Diamondbacks. Apparently, Burrell hasn’t lost much in retirement, as he hit a home run that “went out by a bunch”, according to the telecast. Burrell is currently serving as a scout for the
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Jonathan Papelbon Lacked Velocity in Phillies’ Walk-Off Loss

Jonathan Papelbon allowed three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning yesterday, allowing the Rangers to walk-off happy winners for the second night in a row. Papelbon allowed three runs on four hits and two walks. That Papelbon was in trouble again was not very shocking, considering how often he was found on the tightrope
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Meet the New Boss, Same As the Old Boss

When the Phillies replaced Charlie Manuel with Ryne Sandberg as manager last seaeson, no one expected a completely new modus operandi. Both are cut from the old-school cloth. But there was the hope that a changing of the guard would signal a willingness to adapt and modernize. To the Phillies’ credit, there has been some
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With Good Health, the Phillies Should Score Many More Runs in 2014

Not that you needed yesterday’s 14-run outburst against the Rangers to identify that. The premise of the title does requires some suspension of disbelief. No, this is not an April Fool’s Day article. Now that the legal stuff is out of the way… The Phillies scored 610 runs last season, the fewest they’ve scored in
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Thoughts on the Phillies’ 14-10 Opening Day Victory

After an off-season that lasted for what seemed like an eternity, baseball returned to us this afternoon as the Phillies battled the Rangers in Texas. Cliff Lee opposed Tanner Scheppers, filling in for the injured Yu Darvish. The two teams combined for 24 runs, 31 hits, and 10 walks. With 14 of those runs, the
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ESPN Expert Predictions

ESPN asked me to participate in their expert panel to attempt to predict the upcoming season, not unlike the ones you saw earlier involving the Crashburn Staff. The link above (or this) will take you to the panel’s picks for the standings and playoffs. This link will take you to the panel’s picks for award-winners.
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2014 Predictions with the Crashburn Staff

With the regular season just hours away from starting, it’s time for the Crashburn Alley staff to reveal their 2014 season predictions. We will pick over/unders, division standings, and end-of-season awards. Feel free to let us know where you think we’ll be dead wrong and where you think we got it right using the comments
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Phillies Alter Fate with New Clubhouse Signs‘s Todd Zolecki just tweeted this: Three new signs in hallway from Phillies clubhouse to dugout: Respect the Game, Be the Ultimate Teammate, and Play the Game the Right Way. — Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) March 28, 2014 Beats optimizing roster construction through the development of a healthy Minor League system, the prudent use of team
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Win Some Cash with on Opening Day

The regular season is upon us and that means it’s time to win some more cash with On March 31, you can enter into their Opening Day contest with a $20,000 prize pool with an $11 buy-in. It’s a salary cap-style draft with the top 300 places earning cash, and with first place walking
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The Best and Worst of Phillies Spring Training

The Phillies have had a miserable spring, all things considered. They’re tied with the Red Sox for the worst record across both the Grapefruit League and the Cactus League. The Phillies have posted the second-worst batting average (.232), the third-worst on-base percentage (.306), and the worst slugging percentage (.348). Injuries have decimated the starting rotation
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Phillies’ Bench Starting to Take Shape

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported earlier that the Phillies have released infielder Ronny Cedeno. On Twitter, Salisbury reported that Kevin Frandsen, outrighted by the Phillies on Sunday, has decided to become a free agent.


Phillies Outright Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A

Yesterday,’s Todd Zolecki reported that the Phillies outrighted back-up infielder Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Frandsen has 72 hours to accept or reject the assignment. If he accepts, he’ll still earn the $900,000 from the guaranteed contract he signed in December. If he rejects the assignment and becomes a free agent, he’ll lose
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Should the Phillies Have Interest in Reuniting with Vance Worley?

Vance Worley. Remember him? The begoggled right-hander who racked up the backwards K’s with reckless abandoned in his 277 2/3 innings with the Phillies from 2010-12? The Phillies sent him to the Minnesota Twins in the Ben Revere trade in December 2012, but the Twins recently outrighted him to Triple-A after he went unclaimed on
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Phillies Suffering from Injury Plague Again

Spring training started off with a whimper when we learned that Cole Hamels suffered from shoulder tendinitis over the off-season and was likely to miss his first start or two in the regular season. It was made worse when Hamels experienced a setback, making it likely he’d miss all of April. Of the Phillies expected
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2014 Nationals Q&A with Harper Gordek

This week, we’ll be previewing the Phillies’ NL East opponents for the 2014 season with a brief Q&A session with various team bloggers. Harper Gordek runs the blog Nationals Baseball, which is a fellow member of ESPN’s Sweet Spot blog network. He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a
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2014 Mets Q&A with Toby Hyde

This week, we’ll be previewing the Phillies’ NL East opponents for the 2014 season with a brief Q&A session with various team bloggers. Toby Hyde is a contributor to‘s Mets Minor League Blog.  He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few Mets-related questions to help preview the upcoming
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The Phillies Are Embarrassing Themselves

Last Thursday, I asked the Phillies to stop bothering Jimmy Rollins. That was after Rollins was benched for several games in a row, when manager Ryne Sandberg exuberantly praised Freddy Galvis then clammed up when asked if he could offer the same praise to Rollins. At the end of the article, I wrote, “I wouldn’t
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2014 Marlins Q&A with Michael Jong

This week, we’ll be previewing the Phillies’ NL East opponents for the 2014 season with a brief Q&A session with various team bloggers. Michael Jong is a contributor to SB Nation’s Marlins blog Fish Stripes.  He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few Marlins-related questions to help preview the
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Phillies Acquire Koyie Hill from the Nationals’s William Ladson reported earlier today that the Phillies acquired veteran catcher Koyie Hill from the Nationals for a player to be named later or cash.


2014 Braves Q&A with Franklin Rabon

This week, we’ll be previewing the Phillies’ NL East opponents for the 2014 season with a brief Q&A session with various team bloggers. Franklin Rabon is a contributor to SB Nation’s Braves blog Talking Chop. He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer a few Braves-related questions to help
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In Case You Were Worrying about the Offense

As has been widely reported, the Phillies entered today’s game against the Yankees with the lowest team OPS this spring at .606. They also trailed in batting average at .198 and doubles with 14. I’ve already written about why spring stats don’t matter, but I wanted to quickly put the issue in another light.


Can We Stop Bothering Jimmy Rollins? Please?

Ryne Sandberg doesn’t think Jimmy Rollins hustles enough. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.


Can the Phillies Fit Darin Ruf on the Roster?

Darin Ruf has been one of the few Phillies who has hit with any consistency this spring. In 25 at-bats, he has a .280/.400/.520 line which includes two home runs and four walks.’s Todd Zolecki notes that Ruf has been impressing manager Ryne Sandberg, which might help his cause when the 25-man roster is
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A Look at the Phillies’ Fifth Starter Candidates

The Phillies are set at every position except for the #5 spot in the starting rotation, making it the only interesting battle going on in spring training. After his latest setback, Cole Hamels is unlikely to make his 2014 debut in April. As a result, the Phillies have pushed everyone up in the rotation. Kyle
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Phillies, Ichiro Suzuki A Fit?

ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted this yesterday: Ichiro Suzuki does not have a no-trade clause, and he appears to be the odd man out in the NYY outfield. The Phillies need outfield help. — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 9, 2014


.gifs: Wil Nieves Strikes A Pose

(Since we’re all still kind of new to this design: There are arrows on both sides of the gif above. You can click that to paw through the three .gifs. Alternatively, you can click on one of the three tiny circles in the bottom left.) Wil Nieves plays it cool after making a tough grab
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ESPN: The Cole Hamels Situation

At ESPN, I discussed the implications of the latest setback in Cole Hamels’ quest to return from his arm injury, and discussed a few of the internal options that the Phillies could call upon to pitch in his stead. There’s also this: Phillies now inquiring about Ervin Santana — Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) March 7, 2014
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Previewing the Phillies on the Mostly Mets Podcast

I joined Toby Hyde and Rob Brender on the Mostly Mets Podcast to preview the Phillies in the upcoming season. We talked about the Phillies’ aging roster, their lack of starting pitching depth, and their payroll situation, among other topics. I join the group around the 14:35 mark.