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Quentin / Contreras '08

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Carlos Quentin made his first major league start in the #3 spot, and proved he was up to the task, driving in 5 runs including the game-breaking grand-slam in the 8th.

I'm sure the morning dailies will credit Ozzie Guillen's lineup shake up for the competent offensive attack --and I have to admit that I approve of a number of the changes, including having AJ Pierzynski in the #2 spot against RHP-- but I'd be willing to bet they overplay effect of those changes.

Pierzynski didn't reach base 3 times because he was in the #2 spot. He reached bases because he flared one down the line in the first, was able to lay off some bad pitches, and came up with two on, nobody out and first base open in a tie game. Carlos Quentin didn't drive in 5 runs because he was moved to an "RBI slot." He drove in 5 runs because he's awesome. Just ask Chuck Norris.

Sure, the lineup changes worked in the fact that the Sox scored 6 runs and won the game. But they still sat down quickly while scoring no runs in the 2nd through 7th innings. And there's no reason to believe that the changes will net similar positive results tomorrow.

The fact is, as long as Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, and Nick Swisher continue to make lots of outs the Sox will continue to struggle to score runs, no matter the lineup. Simple as that.

I'm happy Quentin will now be viewed as an "RBI guy" though. Ozzie should now be more willing to insert him into the middle of the lineup when he gives one of the core sluggers a day off, and put him in a position where he's more likely to come up with men on base, which is great since Quentin is about the only player whose at bats I look forward to.

* * * * *

Jose Contreras is in the process of making 2007 a distant memory. He had a dynamite forkball working for him on Wednesday night. I don't think I've seen that forkball since his '05-'06 streak.

Contreras is also throwing a cutter, which I had never really taken notice of before. The only reason I took notice was because he had a noticable velocity drop in an extended 6th inning that saw him throw exclusively forkballs to lefthanders, and almost entirely cutters to the lone righty he saw. The inning is easy to spot on a graph charting his pitch speed. So while I was initially concerned about seeing 86 on the gun, maybe it's actually a reason to think he can continue to pitch like this for the whole season.