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My Not So Sweet Sixteen

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But Daddy, I told I WANTED a win by the A's for their sixteenth...not a heart-racing, overwhelmingly frustrating loss.

Regardless, the law of averages just said that the A's HAD to lose a game or two to the Mariners this series. And you just KNEW that the streak had to end in spectacular fashion. It wasn't going to be any typical win by the Mariners. This sure wasn't.

The A's are now suddenly limping toward the playoffs. The starting pitching is suddenly well-below average. Loaiza has now joined the ranks with his subpar effort tonight and the bullpen, which has been trying to stop the bleeding jugular with a toddler's Elmo Bandaid. The bullpen has been overused quite a bit recently because of the A's problems with starting pitching an if the A's don't wrap this up ASAP, they're going to head into the playoffs in worse shape than ever before. Huston Street has to be a real concern for the A's because even in games he's been able to close out, he has looked very shaky. It's almost a matter of trusting Justin Duchscherer more than Street right now. Course, that decision is a tough one that I wouldn't want to have to make.

The offense woke up, not unexpectedly so given the M's starting pitcher. But this is a bad time for Frank Thomas to go into his first slump since early in the year. He's slugging .091 over the past seven days, and it's just been covered up by the fact that he was mashing the ball unlike anyone in baseball earlier in the month. The A's need him to wake up, but it might just be that he needs a day off (given that he hasn't played in this many games since 2003). The manager is unlikely to give him a day off since the A's need his bat. You see the dilemma? We're talking chicken and egg material here. The A's have been trying to cruise along and not worry about it, probably intending to give him several days off once the team clinches. But the A's are going to continue to limp along without Frank being Frank.

So the streak ends at 15, the A's magic number sits at two and the team is going to have to hope that Rich Harden performs well on a limited pitch count once again. It was a bad night for all involved, and with a starting pitcher on a pitch count and the A's pen stretched thin tonight, you can assume that this could very well get more interesting than any of us hoped.

Then again, the beauty of the situation the A's worked themselves into is that they can withstand something like this because their fortunes can change dramatically in a very short time...like say less than 24 hours.