In May, while the A's struggled along 8 1/2 games behind Los Los Angeles Angeles de Anaheim Anaheim in the American League West, A's Brand Baseball promised not to mention the division standings any more until school started in the fall. It was hard to imagine, back then, that the A's would be playing meaningful games when schoolkids were buying pencil boxes and new backpacks, but here's this (Go Bears!), and here's this. After the first week of school and two disappointing, if hard-fought, losses in three games in the O.C. this week, the A's are tied with Los Los Angeles Angeles for first place. That's right, first place: 75-58. That's the same record as the Yankees, in a three-way tie for the AL wild card spot in the playoffs.

The A's have 29 games left on their schedule. If they win 16 of them, they will have outperformed last year's squad, which, lest we forget, had guys named Hudson, Mulder, Dotel and Durazo. If they win 20 of those 29 games--which include 3 against the Yankees, 3 against the Indians (1 game back in the Wild Card standings), 3 against Boston (3 1/2 games up on the Yankees in the East and so very much a part of the Wild Card picture) and 4 at home against Los Los Angeles Angeles at the end of September--we expect the A's to make the playoffs.