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The charge for .500

The A’s may not make the playoffs in 2007 — the standings are not conducive to it, no matter how well they play for the rest of the season — but that doesn’t mean there season can’t be a success. And if they finish at .500, it would be hard to look at their campaign any other way.

I wrote a column that examines whether it would be better to be the A’s are the Giants at this point, and believe me, the green and gold are far from perfect. Injuries continue to be an issue, and no matter how the organization may view it, there is a perception among some players that manager Bob Geren is to general manager Billy Beane what former Raiders coach Norv Turner was to Al Davis.

Nevertheless, should they finish .500 in a year so ruined by injuries speaks to a lot of good things. No. 1, you don’t finish .500 without busting it over the final couple of months, and their recent warm spell is indicative that Geren hasn’t lost the clubhouse. No. 2, a .500 campaign would be achieved largely by young, untested guys, and that would breed a confidence going into 2008 that shouldn’t go overlooked. No. 3, a .500 season would set a franchise record for the most consecutive winning seasons.

Now, can they do it? The A’s have 33 games left, and the combined winning percentage of their remaining opponents are .521. Among those foes will be every other team in the AL West (the Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers) plus the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox. The A’s are a combined 28-30 against those clubs.

It’s worth watching. Normally, finishing .500 after a recent history of playoff appearances doesn’t qualify for much. But given the group trying to pull it off over the season’s final six weeks, this would be a notable accomplishment.

rhurd