Orlando Cabrera and AJ Pierzynski led off Monday's game with back-to-back singles, but that was all the offense the White Sox could muster over the first 7 innings. Cliff Lee continued his improbable run at a Cy Young, setting down 21 straight White Sox hitters in a row at one point.
Clayton Richard was given the unenviable task of trying to match Lee, with some unfortunately predictable mediocre results. Richard wasn't terrible, but he still creates problems for himself, specifically with his inability to locate first base after fielding what should be a routine out. I actually thought he showed some substantial improvement with his change-up, but he couldn't get it called for a low-strike, limiting his effectiveness. Ozzie gave him the quick hook because 4-runs is a huge lead with Lee on the mound, and he had an opportunity to get a look at some guys in what was really a lower-leverage situation than the score would have normally dictated.
Ehren Wasserman, Boone Logan, and Mike MacDougal, who were all recalled from Charlotte within the last two days, all saw their first game action since returning. Surprisingly, all of them were effective. I was particular interested to see MacDougal pitch again, as he has been quite effective since the All-Star break (31/12 K/BB ratio and 1.59 ERA in 22.2 IP). With the caveat that he only threw 7 pitches (5 strikes, 3 outs!), I wanted to make note that his delivery was a little quieter, more fluid, at times, which could be a great sign for the stretch run, but he still overthrew a couple of pitches.
Scott Linebrink came off the DL today, and is apparently available to pitch Wednesday. I'm sure Ozzie will ease Linebrink back into his role with some low-leverage work at first, giving the Sox a bullpen that appears to be back near full strength. However, with Aaron Poreda headed to the AFL and unlikely to get a callup, I wouldn't be surprised if it's MacDougal, not Linebrink, who ends up being the surprise valuable arm down the stretch, earning himself some high-leverage work in place of the mysteriously injured Linebrink.