Like many Americans, the assembled players were most interested in Team USA's close basketball victory over Spain on Sunday morning. In an oddity, the main television being watched was seven seconds behind the television on the other side of the room, making the cheers and groans predictable.
Missing the rain
There was no on-field batting practice for the second straight day, but it wasn't due to the weather this time. The Phillies' annual Home Run Derby for area youths took over the field for several hours Sunday morning.
Summarizing manager Mike Matheny's pre-game remarks
On Yadier Molina sitting:
Matheny acknowledged that Molina was banged up after getting hit by pitches on two consecutive nights. Still he said he planned to sit him anyway with a day game after a night one. He mentioned he did not do that in the San Francisco series.
On Tony Cruz:
He has a nice approach. He needs to get at-bats. He has improved in his game calling.
On David Freese getting Sunday off:
Everybody has seen that he is just fighting now. We've seen he needs a day or two to right himself.
On second base:
"Descalso will be in there most days the way he has been playing. He is a pretty special player defensively." Skip will play second, outfield, off the bench. Everything is subject to change. With "Fuki" (Furcal) banged up, Descalso would move over to shortstop. Skip has always been a good catalyst and if we need an extra spark offensively.
Both have the mentality to start and pitch in this game for a long time.
Strong kid. He is an athlete. Young, but has velocity. Good athletes can make adjustments that others can't. As long as he keeps working as he has, he will be fine. Not just content to be here.
On the starting pitchers:
What sets them apart is their between starts work – long tosses, side sessions. The starters watch each other's bullpens and make suggestions. Asked Kelly to pass that one – it is unique in a selfish game. Says a lot when guys are trying to take others' jobs away.
Links to Friday's companion article and Saturday's, too.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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