Wow. Seriously, just wow. I can't believe how excited I am after last night's game. I think last night might have been where I turned the corner, and thought, "Maybe, just maybe, we have a playoff team on our hands." The sort of magic that happened last night--call it what you want, but it's nothing short of miraculous--could only happen in a very special season, so I plan on enjoying every second of it.
To recap: Our A's are now 81-60, twenty-one games over .500, guaranteed no worse than a .500 season, in line for the first Wild Card spot, eying the Division lead from 3 games back, and playing some awesome baseball, with contributions from everyone in the lineup and bullpen. Not to mention, they've taken the first two games in a pivotal four-game series against a team with the current best MLB player, the former best MLB player, and a payroll three times the size of the A's payroll. It doesn't get much better than this.
Just for fun today, MLB.com put up the "If The Season Ended Today - Postseason Picture" scenarios. The A's would win Wild Card #1, and play either the Yankees (I know!) or Orioles in a one-game playoff. I must say, our A's logo looks like it belongs in postseason baseball. It's been a while.
On a side note to the Angels' announcers, I know that the second Wild Card must be confusing to you when you look at the standings, with the dash in the "WCGB" column and all. But you really need to stop saying "And with that, the Angels fall to 2.5 games behind the A's in the Wild Card race." The correct phrase is that the Angels fall 2.5 games behind the Wild Card race--for the second Wild Card. The Angels are actually 4.5 games behind the A's for the first Wild Card spot, and with any luck, it will be 5.5 after tonight. Phew. That's been driving me crazy all series.
So, who has links to offer up?
Here a must-read from yesterday:
There's got to be something better to clarify how the A's have now won 10 straight road games after a 3-1 victory here Monday night that snapped the Los Angeles Angels' six-game winning streak. Maybe it's a deal with the devil, or a sacrifice to the baseball gods, or something that transformed a team that going into June lost nine straight games into one that won 58 of its next 88, a .659 winning percentage, more than half a season in the territory of baseball's greatest teams.
Here's another, article, marveling at the A's low batting average. Feel free to FJM it at will:
They're a beautiful story, these 2012 A's. We love the way they pitch. We love the way they make those home run trots. We love the way they sport those fashionable green caps.
But there's nothing historic about any of that. What makes these guys a subject for our September History Watch is this:
They're almost certainly going to have the lowest team batting average of any club ever to make it to the postseason in the division-play era -- and possibly ever.
If you really want a fun read (only because of how marginalized we are), try this one:
Looking strictly on paper suggests the postseason will feature the Yankees, Rangers, Orioles and Angels in the AL with it being a toss-up between the White Sox and Tigers for the final spot. In the NL, it seems more clear cut -- the Nats, Reds, Giants, Braves and Cardinals will be playing October baseball.
This is particularly hilarious to me, not because it isn't true--the A's do play on the road at every single AL contender; it's a brutal schedule--but because the fact that the A's actually have a lead on the Angels (and it's a significant one now) was largely ignored. And, of course, the fact that MLB.com (Major League's official baseball site, mind you), can't be bothered to notice the difference between a three and a four game series between division rivals.
And if you like Islands of Misfit Toys stories, here's an amazing article:
Let’s not get too caught up in the "Moneyball II" narrative; these A’s wish they had the young Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez. Still, this version of Oakland shares the same foundation as the previous one — young starting pitching — and features a new and equally colorful collection of misfit toys.
Not that I'm that into sequels, but I'll make an exception here. This is the team that you want a movie about; for all of the fun we had in 2002, we were expected to win on some level with that talent. On no planet were the 2012 misfit A's supposed to be respectable, much less hold the second best record in the American League in September.
Crazy. Just plain crazy.
A.J. Griffin will try for a perfect 6-0 tonight against Ervin Santana, as the A's try to take the series. Game is at 7:05. An open thread for scoreboard watching will open at 4PM.