Jose Contreras featured a new pitch on Monday night in the OC. I only heard DJ mention it once, but Contreras was definitely throwing a changeup throughout the evening. He only used it about 12-15 times, for the most part, getting hitters to look foolish swinging out in front of it. He also used his slider more often and more effectively than he has in more than a month, and it showed in the results; 8 innings pitched, 8K, 1BB, 1R.
The reappearance of the slider, and the emergence of the change seem to lend credence to my theory that he was hurt. I would be willing to bet that he took his second cortisone shot of the season within 24 hours of his start against the Royals. Hopefully, he'll be feeling spry for the rest of the season. We could really use another run from The Count.
Bobby Jenks got the job done to end the game, and looked better than his last time out, but he still was far from dominating. He hung a curveball to Vlad after getting ahead 0-2 with fastballs in the mid-to-high 90's.
I set out to chart his outing, but after six pitches and two balls smoked for singles, my brain started to melt a little. As I tend to do, I thought I should do something different to change the momentum of the game. I decided that it was me charting the pitches, and not Bobby missing locations, that was the reason for him getting hit hard. So I put down the pen and paper, and Bobby got 3 outs on 4 pitches. Coincidence? I think not.
The victory moved the White Sox closer to first place than they've been since Bastille Day. Unfortunately, the Twins are still clear of the Sox by 1.5 games, and if I had to put money on it, they'd be my pick for AL Central champs. The Tigers are feeling the pressure of the hottest team in baseball. If I'm scoreboard watching down the stretch, which I don't do very often. Detroit will be the first score I'm looking for.
Update [2006-9-12 1:27:5 by The Cheat]: Magic back? -- The 3-2 victory was the first time the Sox won a game while scoring 3 runs or less in the second half. It was the first time since May 24th that they've beaten an AL opponent while being held to 3 or fewer runs.