Walked into Wrigley Field just as Mark DeRosa was getting out of a cab.
"How's your leg?" I said.
"It hurts like hell," he said.
There you have it. After running into the bullpen telephone box in left field yesterday, DeRo was a late lineup scratch for today's game against the Cubs. The sun is out, and we'll get to the lineups in a sec.
Had a chance with a couple other writers to visit with Von Joshua in the dugout. Let's just say I found him the most engaging hitting coach since Jeff Pentland, and Jeff hasn't been here for a few years.
I'll have a whole bunch more later online and in the Sunday paper. It looks to me like Von will try to strike a balance between wanting aggressive hitters and wanting patience. He said it was "huge" that Soriano walked to start the game-winning rally yesterday. I asked him how he viewed the whole patient-aggressive thing:
"We like to work the count and make the pitcher work," Von said. "But as we all know, you get some of these guys like (Cliff) Lee or some of these guys get ahead, if they throw strike one, a fastball strike one, it’s bad if you pop it up. It’s great if you square it up. You only get three strikes.
“It’s a twofold. You like to see them work the count, but if they groove that fastball, square it up. A lot of guys will say, ‘It was on the outer third of the plate.’ Well, square it up to the opposite field and try and go the other way. It’s still the fastball. I cannot stand to see guys take a fastball for a strike.”
Let's talk All-Star game for a minute. Ted Lilly (7-4, 2.94 ERA) goes for the Cubs today against Tomo Ohka. It looks to me like Lilly will be the Cubs' lone all-star representative. Or he should be, if the Cubs are sending only one.
What about our old pal Jason Marquis, formerly of the Cubs and now of the Rockies. Last night, Marquis improved to 9-4 with a 3.71 ERA as he went 8.2 innings and gave up 8 hits and 3 runs in beating the Bucs. Marquis got 20 groundball outs in the game, and his groundout-to-flyball out ratio is a nice 2.18. He's tied for the NL lead in wins. He's fifth in innings pitched and 20th in ERA. Marquis' WHIP is 1.34. Yes, he is a first-half pitcher, so we'll see how it plays out.