Who? Yes, Enny Romero. You know, the guy listed as the starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday as they fight furiously with Cleveland and Texas -- and New York and Kansas City and Baltimore -- for a wild card spot in the season's final 8 days. What do I know about Enny Romero? He's 22, he throws 97, and he probably has 13 older siblings named "A-yee, Bea E., C-yee, Dee-ee, Eeeee-yee!!!!!!!, Effy, Dillon Geeyee, Aich-ee, Iyee, Jay E., Kay E., Elly, and Emmy.
And for all we know, the A's could wind up facing him in the post-season. That's because there are still a truckload of teams who could become first-round playoff opponents for the A's. Let's start with the fact that Oakland enters play today just 1.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox for best overall record in the American League. If the A's win best record, they will play the wild card team -- which could easily be Tampa Bay, Cleveland, or Texas (and could still conceivably be New York, Kansas City or Baltimore, all of whom remain within 3 games of a spot).
Currently, the A's hold the league's 2nd best record and if the season ended today -- well first and foremost, I think if the season ended today everyone would be incredibly surprised -- Oakland would play (and, at the moment, host) the Detroit Tigers. In this scenario, Nate Freiman can file for unemployment with Chris Young standing behind him, and those two can dress up as Jonny Gomes and Chris Carter for Hallowe'en.
There are even scenarios where the A's wind up playing Boston, though they entail an unlikely "perfect storm" whereby the Tigers pass both Oakland and Boston to boast the league's best record. It's not at all out of the question, though, with Detroit trailing the Red Sox by just 2.5 games.
No wonder the A's post-season roster is such a mystery. Will they face a Tigers team with all RH starting pitchers? Or will they find themselves facing David Price and Matt Moore for 3 out of 5? Will Seth Smith be more of a factor or an after-thought? What about Alberto Callaspo?
You know who might have a lot to say about all this? A certain Enny Romero. Not to mention Sunday's matchup of the extremely similar R.A. Dickey and Felix Doubront. There is also Ogando vs. Shields, leading one to ponder how often two pitchers whose names start and end with the same letter have opposed each other.
OK, so here's the question: Of all the teams who are still very much alive in the playoff conversation -- Boston, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Texas -- which team would you most like to face in an ALDS series, and which team would you least like to face? And why? (And then watch us somehow wind up playing the winner of Baltimore vs. Kansas City.)
For me, somehow the Indians scare me the least even though they swept Oakland in a 4-game series at Cleveland. I think they're pretty good; they just don't scare me at all because they don't have a dominant ace, or a dominant closer, or a relentless lineup. The Tigers scare me a bit on recent memories, though last year Detroit didn't beat us so much as Justin Verlander beat us and that Verlander has been pretty much MIA in 2013.
Feel free to share your thoughts and predictions, and we'll see you at 1:05pm as the A's try to get their magic number to an even zero! Sonny Gray vs. Cole DeVries, and if you think Cole DeVries has a funny name you should see his ERA.