This beating reminded everyone that there is-indeed--a real pennant race fomenting in the AL West. However, the Rangers should take a very hard look at the all-encompassing big picture scoreboard-the Athletics won that series by dominating the small things. And they beat Texas by going toe-to-toe with one of the best offenses in the American League. Moreover, the real battle was won in the trenches-through superior bullpen action, sans Joe Kennedy, Scott Sauerbeck and the rest of the DL boys, a smothering defense and timely hitting from Jay Payton, not through caveman-like hacking at off-speed pitches that Ranger batters have mastered.

The Athletics, with their crudely assembled line-up, made the critical plays when they counted most. For instance, Bobby Crosby goes on the DL, enter utility-man extraordinaire Marco Scutaro, to solidify the shortstop position and play like a wizard. And the guy is a rock! If you notice, not many ground balls get past the Scutaro-Chavez phalanx. Then, there is Jay Payton. Exactly! Who the hell is Jay Payton? He's only the guy whose been riding a 12-game hitting streak, batting over .330 since June 11 and smashing meaningful home runs to either tie a game or put the A's in the lead. He even smashed a 4-bagger off his greatest nemesis, Texas pitcher Kevin Millwood. But we digress.