If my absence from the Bay Area keeps the A's no-hitting the opposition for the first 7 1/3 innings of each game, I'm willing to remain here in Southern California indefinitely.
Watching the Angels on TV last night, I think the best chance the A's have of winning the division is if Scot Shields or Francisco Rodriguez gets hurt. Those are the two filthiest bullpen arms in baseball. The Angels play six-inning ballgames, and everyone else has to play nine. That's a huge advantage.
The wild card would be easier. A's are now only 3 games back in the wild card standings, but there are five teams ahead of them. The A's have to hope that the other two divisions keep beating each other up.
The A's are the current MLB Heavyweight Champs (see sidebar). If they win today, they'll pass the Rangers in both the real standings and in the Heavyweight standings. But they'll have to beat Kenny Rogers at the Coliseum, where he almost never loses. Blanton may need to throw seven no-hit innings to get it done.