The A's are in prime position to return to the postseason—three games ahead of the second-place Texas Rangers in the American League West as of this writing. Considering the expectations for this team just one short year ago, that is nothing short of remarkable. Ask fans of the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners or Miami Marlins.
But the postseason will dictate whether this season has truly been successful for the Oakland organization. Part of the reason for that stems from the Moneyball phenomenon, which continues to unfairly define what has been a successful organization over the last 12 years.
All that said, much of what has plagued the A's is the lack of elite and transcendent starting pitching. The A's had the Big Three of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito from 2000-2003 but could not get out of the first round.
In 2006, the team somehow cobbled together 93 wins and a trip to the American League Championship Series with Barry Zito (who was already less effective), Esteban Loaiza, a young Dan Haren and Joe Blanton in the rotation. Last year's miracle team was a collection of rookies.
Now, with more seasoning and the ancient but ageless Bartolo Colon, those young arms will be counted upon to help the A's get to a place they have not been in 23 seasons: The World Series. Here is how I think A's skipper Bob Melvin will run his starters out in the postseason.