The New York Yankees and the Oakland A's have clinched the AL East and West, respectively.
The Yankees demolished the Red Sox 14-2 in the Bronx while the upstart A's wrested the AL West away from the Texas Rangers with a 12-5 triumph in the Bay Area.
The Yankees had a ten game lead in mid-July but stumbled allowing the Baltimore Orioles to get back into the race. The O's managed to tie the Yankees for the lead in the AL East but could never reach the top spot.
But don't feel sorry for the O's. They go to Texas to play the Rangers for the AL Wild Card on Friday night. While I favor the Rangers, I don't think the Rangers expected to be in this position and that could adversely affect them.
Yet the A's are the most improbable story in MLB. The A's traded away their top two starters (Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill) and their closer (Andrew Bailey) and when Bartolo Colon was suspended for PEDs, their entire rotation was rookies. Yet their 3.49 team ERA was the second lowest in the AL. The Athletics had a payroll of just under $50 million - the lowest in MLB. That's a lot of money but next to the Rangers ($120 million) and the Yankees ($195 million), the A's are in the poorhouse.
Entering today, the A's were 13th out of 14 AL teams in batting average (.238) and yet somehow they made their hits count. How many Red Sox fans love to have Josh Reddick back? Or for that matter Coco Crisp and Brandon Moss?
I would love to see an A's vs. O's ALCS. That would be letter perfect.