(Above: Jim Riggleman finds Mike Hargrove’s passion for baseball)

White Sox 5, Mariners 0

Steve Carlton. Nolan Ryan. Tommy John. The pantheon of rotation hurlers who sport two first names has this day opened anew to accept White Sox southpaw Clayton Richard (W, 1-2). Atoning for sins recently committed in Kansas city, Richard went six sharp innings with one walk and six hits in his start against the 67%-swept M’s.

Truth be told, it’s up in the air whether Ozzie sees Richard as a permanent fixture in the fifth slot, since the recent send-down of righty Lance Broadway may well be reversed after the ten-day league rule elapses. In fact, the traffic control radar screen manned by pitching coach Don Cooper is filled with bogeys; Clayton was himself recalled days before the deadline that had him scheduled to pitch for the US Olympic Team in Beijing.

With the one-game lead over the Twins getting no wider, what are the prospects? The top three starters coming up this weekend against an Angels-dominating Anton LaRays will speak volumes about Sox September stability, whereas contributing three to Seattle’s 100-loss campaign won’t. Can the Sox do what the Angels could not? Will it take more than ridiculous power, aces high, a settled-down pen and a lights-out, ranch dressing-encrusted closer whose strikeout count and ERA have both plummeted alarmingly?

If that won’t do it, how about a ringer in the Rays broadcast booth? Over a lunch of steamed hundred-dollar bills, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley personally informed me Tampa radio announcer Dave Wills is in fact a lifelong South Sider and deep-cover White Sox fan. So listen closely to your Gameday Audio feeds this weekend for Mr. Wills’ inadequately-concealed joy at the next deliveries from the Quentin/Dye/Ramirez/Thome/Swisher bomb factory.