Keeping A Positive Attitude

Wash away those sad thoughts and eat a slice of optimism pie.

Well that sucked. Talk about having the wind completely taken out of your sails. The A's went straight from a dominating 9-game winning streak to a sweep at home by the Team Who Shall Not Be Named, and, to add injury to insult, one of their best players was smacked in the noggin by a line drive. There, I fit all the bad news into one sentence. It can't be that bad, right?

Remember that momentum is a two-way street. If the team can fall from grace this quickly, then they can jump right back on the horse equally as quickly. Here are some assorted happy thoughts for you to chew on during a much-needed off-day:

  • The A's get to regroup against the Mariners. Seattle has been good since the All-Star Break, but that doesn't change the fact that this is Oakland's easiest opponent for the rest of the season.
  • And what about Seattle's 2nd half success? In mid-August, the M's went on an 8-game winning streak against the Rays, Twins, and Indians. (Sound familiar?) Since that streak, they are just 6-7 (vs the ChiSox, Twins, Angels, Red Sox). Immediately before that 8-game streak, they went 3-7 (vs the Yankees, Orioles, Angels). Conclusion? Contending teams are still beating the Mariners pretty regularly.
  • Felix Hernandez? He's faced the A's 4 times, and the teams have split those 4 games. The last two match-ups resulted in Oakland victories (albeit, one was in April).
  • There hasn't been a lot of word on Brandon McCarthy, but that also means that there hasn't been any bad news, either. He apparently never lost consciousness, and it's not out of the question that he may not miss any time.
  • Oakland is still tied for the top Wild Card. Yes, damage has been done, but all that was lost was some of the padding between them and their competition. In fact, they barely even lost that; the Rays are still 1.5 games back, and Detroit is still 3 games back. The only significant result is that the Angels are right back in the race, but the A's have 4 more games next week to reverse that trend.
  • For pride purposes, the A's are still only a half-game behind the Giants, and 1 game behind the Yankees. Both teams had the courtesy to lose their respective series as well.
  • Speaking of the Yankees, they just lost 3 straight series to teams in their division (Tor, Bal, TB). A little schadenfreude to brighten your day.
  • While Oakland's offense went cold this week, Chris Carter and Brandon Moss combined to go 5-for-15 with two homers (one each) in the series. Nice to know that we don't have to worry about 1st base anymore. Perhaps Moss should get some starts in LF/DH while he is swinging a hot bat?
  • Pat Neshek has a 0.73 ERA as an Athletic. (only 12.1 innings but shut up)
  • Tyson Ross, in his first appearance since moving to the bullpen: 2.2 scoreless innings, 3 K's, one walk.
  • Tommy Milone is scheduled to start on Sunday against Seattle, and then miss the entire series against the Angels. I still love Milone, but I'm not disappointed that he won't have to face Trout, Hunter, Pujols and Trumbo again. I like his chances at Safeco Field, where home runs are illegal.
  • If the season ended today, the Oakland A's would still be in the playoffs.
Three days of highly concentrated bad news is tough to take, but it's not so bad when you realize that the A's have absorbed this blow without too much long-term damage in the standings. Things are going to be OK. Or, they won't. Who knows, really? But things are still fine and dandy right now, so it's OK to step away from that ledge.

If the A's are going to make any noise in the playoffs, then they're going to have to beat teams like the Yankees, Rangers, and Tigers. So, if they can't beat those teams now, in September, what would be the point in playing games in October? We're about to find out, once and for all, if this team is for real or not. Well, I'd argue that they're already for real. The 1999 A's were for real, if "real" meant "truly up-and-coming and not just a fluke." The 2012 A's are the same. That 1999 team missed the playoffs, but the pieces were in place for a long run of success. Regardless of what happens here, this 2012 team has poised the 2013-2016 A's for a string of postseason runs.

Continue being excited, A's fans. Your team is good, they're still leading the playoff hunt, and no matter what happens this month, they're going to be good for the next several years. That sounds like excellent news to me.
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