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