The A’s neglected to make the playoffs this year. They just had to win the series this weekend with the Angels; they’ve already lost the first two games.

I never seriously expected this to happen, though admittedly the A’s haven’t been overwhelming this year. Their bullpen started the season badly (I always expect Billy Beane to steal cheap bullpen help, but he didn’t manage that this off-season), and while it stabilized, it never was dominant, and had some noticeably failures at the end of the season. (Today, for example.) The offense has gotten surprisingly decent contributions from many people; it wasn’t stellar, but it was at least respectable, which was better than I’d expected.

The starting pitching was the big surprise this year. At the beginning of the season, Zito was awful and Harden was bad, but actually I wasn’t too surprised to hear that, and Hudson and Mulder were excellent, Redman was decent. And Zito and Harden picked it up nicely towards the second half of the season, especially Harden.

But Hudson was somewhat off towards the end of the season, and Mulder was downright awful. The A’s don’t admit it, but I have to assume Mulder was hurt. With that, their starting pitching was mediocre, and they didn’t have any real strengths (except maybe their defense), and it’s hard to make the playoffs that way.

Wait till next year, I guess. Probably several hitters will regress; Crosby and Chavez could both easily get better, though, and Harden and (maybe) Blanton could contribute to the starting rotation. Right now I’m not too optimistic that the A’s will get much better next year, but I don’t see why they should be much worse. And maybe Billy Beane will do something clever this off-season.

Go Red Sox, I guess. And maybe the Giants will make the playoffs and I can root for them, too.

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