In hindsight, the A's never really had a chance in this series. They have absolutely no clue how to hit Kenny Rogers and absolutely no clue how to get Placido Polanco out. Every decision Leyland farted out there would be turned to gold by overachieving players, excellent ones and mediocre ones alike, and the few mistakes Ken Macha made would be compounded by his players' inability to make him look good.
What it came down to today was that Street visibly ran out of gas with two out in the 9th, but had to face Monroe, Polanco, and Ordonez anyway because Duchscherer was ailing and Calero had been spent pretty much for nothing. Two game-winning two-run HRs fell but inches short of giving the A's a chance to win 5-3, and it wound up an exciting loss with equal emphasis on "exciting" and "loss".
From early in Game 1 to the end of Game 4, it was simply the Tigers time to play in the World Series. The A's, built on starting pitching, would fail to get a single quality start in the ALCS. Frank Thomas didn't get a single hit. You're not going to win too many series under those circumstances.
But all I can keep thinking to myself as I ponder what it feels like to get swept in an LCS is that 26 teams didn't have the chance.
I'm proud of the 2006 Oakland A's. And I can't wait for Spring Training, 2007.