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I suppose one of the problems with baseball’s current postseason format is
that teams good enough to play very, very well down the stretch lock up
playoff spots and remove themselves from the pack, leaving us with lesser
lights battling to see who can suck the least.

A harsh assessment? Yeah, but it’s Monday morning and I can’t really believe
that the Indians, Red Sox and Blue Jays all managed to lose two of three
over the weekend to teams whose postseason hopes died during the Bill
Bradley campaign.

The Sox are dead. The Jays should be, but they’re lucky enough to have three
games this weekend with the Indians, so they can’t be considered out of it
just yet. The Indians have fallen behind both the Mariners and A’s, so now
they’re relying on the Angels and Rangers to get off the deck and win some
games this week.

On the other hand, the AL West race is fairly interesting. The A’s went into
Safeco Field and took three of four games, moving into a virtual tie with
the Mariners for first place in the division.

You’d like to think the A’s success, along with that of the White Sox, will
cause people to reconsider the importance of having "savvy
veterans" who "know how to win". After all, if team
experience was everything, the Mariners should have won five out of four.
The A’s have a lineup that’s just slightly older than Nickelodeon’s target
audience and yet they won a huge series, on the road, against a team that
has plenty of pennant race and postseason experience.

One other note on that series, and I know I’m treading dangerous ground
here, but I have to comment on something ESPN’s Harold Reynolds said on
Sunday night’s "Baseball Tonight". In discussing the fourth game
of the series, Reynolds emphasized that the Mariners won because they played
little ball and put runners in motion and made things happen
offensively.

Uh-huh.

The Mariners, in order, scored two, three, two and three runs over the
weekend. They allowed five, eight, eight and two. Anyone notice the outlier?

To say that they won the fourth game of the series because of what they did
on offense is…well, I’m sure you all can pick adjectives at will, but I’m
going to go with "silly". The Mariners won because John
Halama
gave them a good start and because Arthur Rhodes pitched
well instead of imploding as he did on Saturday. Their offense was just as
lousy as it had been all weekend. The pitching made it look good.

Joe Sheehan can be reached at jsheehan@baseballprospectus.com.

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