Philadelphia Phillies defeated the New York Yankees in the spring training opener

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Phillies won their Grapefruit League home spring opener on Saturday 7-4 against the Yankees in front of a sold-out crowd of 9,534 at BayCare Ballpark. The Phillies played their first game under MLB’s new rule changes and committed no fouls. The pitch clock helped speed up the game, especially in the later innings, to a solid 2 hours and 34 minutes. Here are a few quick observations from Clearwater:

Bakker impresses: Manager Robert Thomson said Andrew Baker, who earned the win on Saturday, was “probably the most impressive pitcher of the day.” Baker, a 22-year old right-handed reliever, pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. He’s a name to watch this spring as the Phillies have a clearing in their bullpen and fits the profile of the desired depth the Phillies say they’re looking for.

“He was excellent,” said Thomson. “And high-end stuff. If he can exploit the strike zone, we’ve got something. And he did today.”

Baker is coming off a strong 2022 minor league season, jumping from high-A to double-A and recording a 3.98 ERA. He allowed only one earned run in 10⅔ innings at double-A Reading last season. He credits a change in his delivery suggested by Brian Kaplan, the director of pitching development, to his success.

“I was in the windup, and we rammed the whole windup last year and started stretching because that’s the easiest delivery,” said Baker. “And that immediately started to help me a lot. It took me about halfway through last year before it finally clicked, and when it did, it just went up from there.

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On the hill: Nick Nelson made a scoreless start in one inning for the Phillies, allowing one hit and one walk with one strikeout. Louis Head, who signed a minor league contract this offseason, looked sharp and gave up only one hit in one inning. Right-handed reliever James McArthur did as well, allowing no hits, walks, or runs for one inning. Righthanded pitcher Francisco Morales, who made his big league-debut last season but struggled with his command, threw an 1-2-3 inning.

Who stood out: Weston Wilson, a 28-year-old third baseman who signed a minor league contract with the Phillies in January. Wilson, who played in right field for the Phillies on Saturday, went 2-for-2 with four RBI’s, a walk and a home run.

Next one: The Phillies play the Minnesota Twins Sunday at 1:05 p.m. at BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater, Fla. The game will be streamed on WIP and broadcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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