While there is a great wildcard pennant race going on in both leagues, most of the division titles (AL West excepted) seem pretty well in hand, so these future playoff teams are now focused on getting their pitching set up for the post-season. While the call-up of teen phenom Felix Hernandez has been taking the headlines, under the radar, the White Sox Brandon McCarthy has pitched nearly 15 shutout innings in his 2 first two starts, after being brought up from Triple A. What makes McCarthy's recent performances most special is they occured versus the American League's best offenses, Boston and Texas. His strikeout/walk ratio was 9/2, which is in large part because he's throwing a nasty changeup for strikes.
The White Sox are in a situation, where they had a doubleheader and no off-days, so they were able to go to a 6-man rotation, but now they need to figure out what to do with McCarthy and if he will be on their 25 man playoff roster. Considering that Buerhle, Garland, and Garcia are locks as the first 3 starters, the decision is basically, who out of Contreas, El Duque, and McCarthy should be the 4th starter. I would lean towards one of the first 2, as Contreas has pitched great over the past month, while Hernandez is the one Sox pitcher with a sterling playoff record. For the rest of the year, I would test McCarthy in some high stress relief situations, as he has great stuff and is the best strikeout pitcher on the team. With Hermanson's nagging back injury, this is the only potential pitching weakness for Chicago. If the rumors were true that the Reds turned down the offer of McCarthy and one of the top Sox minor league outfielders for Griffey Jr., it's just another case of Ken Williams getting lucky when a trade is voided by a dumbass owner. (see 2003 Jon Garland for Darin Erstad near debacle)
So I turn on my local news and see that Bob Denver kicked the bucket. The next story featured was about the funeral of William Rehnquist. Yeah, that seems about right, if you were watching E! Gilligan outpoints the Chief Justice of the US on local news. I think the great Russian philosopher, Yakov Smirnov said it best. "America, what a country!" Actually, I just got done watching the E! channel's coverage of the Supreme Court and according to Todd Newton, the 2 most qualified to be new chief justice are Judge Judy and Amy Brenneman. Actually, I would choose Judge Amy over Scalia and Thomas. I mean she does have a degree from Harvard and she can't be as dense as Judge Long Dong Silver or the Vice President's favorite Duck Hunter.
Will and I have both been pretty passionate in our praise of Rock Star:INXS and the show just continues to have performances that blow away anything seen on American Idol. Where Will and I disagree is on who our favorites are. Initially I thought Susie was one of the three or four Holiday Inn lounge singers that should be axed, but she has really grown over the weeks. Still not sure how she sings INXS songs, though. Will doesn't like Jordis, where I think she is the best singer on the show, but as host Dave Navarro mentioned, she does seem to have lost her passion, some, from her original, spectacular performances. J.D. generally sings in only one register, which would fit the moodier INXS songs best, but wouldn't work at all for the more energetic tunes. At this point I would say Marty is the best fit for the band, though he would change the dynamic, making the group more rock and less funky. Marty has a range somewhere between Layne Staley and Peter Murphy. He might be better suited, fronting his own band, as he seems to have the most talent as a songwriter.
Ultimately, I would watch any of these singers work their stuff, as long it isn't Mig. This Bay City Roller look-alike, annoys the steamy dump out of me, as his breathy singing style makes me want to wretch. I've got to guess his biggest influences were Peter Frampton (I'm in You) and Rex Smith (You Take My Breath Away). Mig has a huge advantage, as he is the only one on the show not from North America, so when the rest of the world votes, he is pretty much guaranteed not being in the bottom 3. And for those who slag INXS, I would state that listening once again to the wide variety of music they produced, INXS was one of the best bands of the past 20 years. There will be no replacing Michael Hutchence, as his charisma and vocal range was one of a real rock star, but it should be interesting to see how they change.