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The A Series

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While the Angel Nation deals with the death of legendary manager Gene Mauch, the baseball world will be focused on the field as the two best teams in the AL West go head-to-head.

Not long ago, the A's seemed dead and buried, but now Billy Beane looks like a genius again as Oakland has the hottest team in baseball. The Angels failure to hit has also allowed Oakland to get back into the AL West race.

This is easily the biggest Angels series all season. It will put the winner ahead in the AL West, and give the leader a mental advantage heading down the stretch. Call us pessimists, but we think Oakland will win two out of three. Oakland is the hotter team right now, the series is in Oakland, and they get to start aces Rich Harden and Barry Zito against John Lackey and Ervin Santana in the first two games. The A's offense has been sizzling with young guys like Dan Johnson, Nick Swisher, and Bobby Crosby, while Eric Chavez is finally looking like his old self.

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But Angel fans shouldn't get down on themselves too much. There's nothing wrong with winning the Wild Card, which the Anaheim-based team used to win the World Series in a year that the A's went on a 20-game winning streak. We also aren't convinced that the A's will continue winning games this season at the ridiculous frequency they have in the past two months. This might be a big series, but it's hardly a be-all, end-all.