Bradenia refuses to surrender

Hey, at least somebody hasn't officially conceded the American League West championship. We can always count on the King of Bradenia:

    Dallas Braden hasn't conceded anything yet.

    The left-hander allowed one hit in eight innings and the Oakland Athletics beat Texas 5-0 Thursday night, stalling the Rangers' pursuit of their first AL West title since 1999.

    "There's no obese lady in sight and I can't hear any singing," Braden said.

    Braden (10-13) outpitched Cliff Lee to end his four-game losing streak and keep Texas' magic number at four for clinching the division. The A's moved within seven games of first-place Texas.

    "I'll see you in October," said Braden, who has held the Rangers scoreless for 18 straight innings over three games since Aug. 6.

You have to love Braden's confidence (or cockiness; you decide) and you have to love the way he's pitched this season (except for his strikeout rate, but let's not quibble about such trivialities so soon after he pitched so well).

October, though?

Actually, yeah. Braden's turn in the rotation will come up on October 3 ... the last day of the scheduled regular season. So yeah, we'll probably see him again.

I don't think that's what he meant, though. I think he was trying to rally the troops for an assault on the first-place Rangers, these last 10 days of the season. And somewhat suddenly, the notion doesn't seem utterly preposterous.

Ridiculous, maybe. The A's are still seven games out of first place. Just to give you an idea, if the Rangers win just two of their remaining 10 games, the A's have to win nine of their last 10 just to force a one-game playoff for the division title.

I suppose it really is preposterous.

You know how players always talk about taking everything "one game at a time"? I don't think that's applicable here. The A's need to begin by taking three at a time; namely, these next three games against the Rangers. If they can sweep this series, then they (and you, if you enjoy such things) can begin to dream a little. A sweep would leave the A's four games out of first place with seven games to play. This would still require a historic comeback, but at least you can sort of understand the math.

And I have to say, a sweep isn't impossible. Not with Josh Hamilton out of action and Cliff Lee already having pitched in this series, and the games in Oakland. It's just a shame that nobody's going to be in the Coliseum to help; there probably weren't 10,000 fans in the ballpark Thursday night.