I took a lot of abuse when I nearly left the flock (well, not really, but you all understand my point) in the depths of the May Mire-- some deserved.
Well, for the record, here's what I've been saying-- and I do believe I was out front on nearly all these points:
- once harden returned, the A's have the best rotation in the AL. The data is pretty clear cut over the past couple of weeks-- my point is that if you go back even further in terms of the 4 guys who were healthy, and then insert Harden, they've been just about the best for a month now. And I do believe it will continue for the remainder of the season;
- The A's are fast becoming serious 2005 contenders-- for the Wild Card, a la 2001. the Angels refuse to lose as the M's did then (and we did in 2002 when the Halos were left with the WC-- a fortuitous development)and the lead is still an imposing 10.5 games. But meanwhile we've passed Seattle, we're rapidly closing in on Toronto, the Yanks, texas and Detroit, and none of the remaining three teams: Baltimore, Cleveland or Minnesota, look all that frightening. 6.5 games over 3+ months is nothing;
- Beane might-- like 1999-- sell and buy in the next month. i said it first, and then, according to accounts this weekend, he used just those words;
- And as for Zito-- that supposedly "up and down" pitcher who has been among the league's 10-15 best since the Tampa Bay debacle-- in the words of Bob Dylan, "he ain't going nowhere". I now believe that Lew Wolff and Billy Beane are going to move heaven and earth to keep him here in Oakland-- or wherever-- for the long term.
I now believe this could be a 5of 6 week that would leave them 40-41 heading into the road trip, a carbon copy of 2001 when the infamous Hudson-Mulder-Zito sweep of the Diamondbacks fueled the surge that jermaine Dye's arrival kept going;