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ALDS Game 5 pressure on shoulders of Oakland organization given its history, not the A’s players

The A’s have been very good at deflecting pressure, putting one foot in front of the other and moving on a very orderly path through the 2013 season.

Does all that change now, with the season down to one game?

They won’t want to admit it, but yes it does.

Just not so much for the players. Most of them went through the disappointment of losing in Game 5 of the 2012 playoffs to Detroit and Justin Verlander, and they know the obstacle the Tigers are.

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Stephen Vogt does where Crash Davis never did

If you don’t think there is something wonderful and downright fun about baseball in the playoffs, then you haven’t met Stephen Vogt.

And if you had seen Vogt six months ago, you wouldn’t have seen someone destined for the limelight. You would have seen a man not feeling the wonder, not feeling the fun, just walking through a shopping mall in Durham, N.C., not far from where another minor league catcher, Crash Davis, made a name for himself.

At the time Vogt had close to 1,900 minor league at-bats in which he averaged .299, but in his only 25 at-bats in the big leagues he was a whopping zero, zilch, nada, nyet for 25.

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ALDS Game 2 wrapup: A’s show their fight once again; Coliseum had room for more than baseball

This was what Raul Ibanez meant.

Last week when I was talking with the Mariners outfielder, he praised the A’s mental toughness, their inability to stop fighting. He called them one of the grittiest clubs he had ever seen.

Saturday’s 1-0 win over Detroit was the personification of that game. They scored not a run against former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander for seven innings, then didn’t score in the eighth after putting two men on base.

Come the ninth inning, the A’s were still clawing. Yoenis Cespedes and Seth Smith backed up doubles, and after Josh Reddick was intentionally walked, Stephen Vogt came up with the game-winner.

On paper, the Tigers may have the better team. They certainly hit for a better average, and as good as the A’s starting pitching is, the Tigers will say theirs in better. There is no Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander in Oakland.

But as Ibanez was pointing out, some things can’t be measured in statistics alone.

The result makes for some very good baseball. Saturday’s game was as good an exhibition of high-quality baseball as you’re likely to see.

As Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, “This is post-season pitching. That’s what you saw tonight at its best.’’

This kind of victory actually speaks well for the A’s going forward. The Tigers have sent their best two starters at Oakland and only got a split of the games. Jarrod Parker, who pitched a solid Game 1 in Comerica Park last year, goes against the Tigers in a day game Monday, and Dan Straily, whose win on Aug. 28 came at the expense of the pitcher he’ll oppose Tuesday, Doug Fister, has been pitching as well as anyone.

–Billy Beane was asked how Saturday’s scoreless battle between starters Verlander and Sonny Gray matched up with A’s post-season pitching matchups.

Misunderstanding the question, Beane said it reminded him of the 1991 Jack Morris 10-inning 1-0 win, outlasting Atlanta’s John Smoltz, who like Morris did not allow a run.

After that, Beane came up with Barry Zito vs. Mike Mussina of the Yankees in the 2001 playoffs, and Tim Hudson vs. the Yankees Andy Pettitte, also in 2001.

The fact is this one was a classic, for most of us anyway.

Late in the game the A’s general manager brought his kids down to manager Bob Melvin’s office where they, along with A’s managing partner Lew Wolff broke out the crayons and did some coloring.

The preschoolers (not including Beane Sr. and Wolff) “didn’t even know when we scored the winning run,’’ Beane said.

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Game 156 wrapup: Beane says depth crucial to A’s West title; Crisp surprises himself with 20-20 output; This celebration means more to Sogard

The fact that the A’s were able to clinch the American League West title on Sunday, the final home date of the regular season, worked out well for Billy Beane.

Securing the title meant the A’s general manager could stay at home and not join the team Monday in Anaheim for a possible clinching party there. Beane isn’t much for road trips these days.

As it was, Beane stayed mostly out of the clubhouse celebration Sunday and was uncontaminated by the sprays of champagne and beer that coated most of the rest of the members of his organization.

He was with his twins, Brayden and Tinsley, when I caught up with him far from the madding crowd.

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A’s continue their pursuit of White Sox’s Peavy

The A’s would like to add a starting pitcher before the trade deadline comes around Wednesday, and the A’s have a preference for that pitcher to be Jake Peavy.

Wishing doesn’t make it so, of course, but the club is very much in the hunt for the Chicago White Sox’s right-hander, who cleaned out his locker Sunday morning with all indications a trade is just a day or so, if not an hour or so, away.

The Braves, the Dodgers, the Cardinals and the Red Sox came into Sunday as fellow contenders in the race to get Peavy as the White Sox try to shed salary and add good young prospects.

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A’s find there are too many buyers at deadline, but they’d like to add a starter and a second baseman

The A’s have not been buyers at the trade deadline often in the last decade.

Now that they are, so, apparently, is everybody else.

All of which is going to make it more difficult for the A’s to get something done at the deadline.

“It’s about how many players are available, simple supply and demand,’’ A’s general manager Billy Beane said. “Right now there are more buyers than there are sellers, more buyers than last year.’’

The A’s want to be one of the buyers when the deadline rolls around Wednesday.

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A’s, Holliday both in better places since 2009 union

Matt Holliday was supposed to change the way things were done in Oakland.

An outfielder with a big bat, big RBI potential and a big salary, Holliday was the A’s foray into big-money baseball.

That lasted for less than a full season. Oakland general manager Billy Beane acquired Holliday for a hefty price – letting a proven reliever, Huston Street, and a would-be star, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, go to Colorado.

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Hot streak from A’s helping keep Hiro in minors

What, exactly, does it take to get to the big leagues with the Oakland A’s?

In the case of Hiro Nakajima, more of what he’s been doing of late. Maybe a lot more.

With two more hits, including his second home run Sunday in Tacoma for Triple-A Sacramento, Nakajima is on a roll that has seen his average get to new heights at .322. He came into Monday with a seven-game streak in which he’s 15-for-33 (.455).

That’s good, even if it’s not enough to get him to the majors right now.

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Game 24 wrapup: Lowrie could be looking shuttling between shortstop and second base

Jed Lowrie was confronted with something odd Friday.

He came to the Coliseum and saw his name in the lineup, as usual.

He was listed as the second baseman, which was anything but usual. He was a semi-regular second baseman with the Red Sox back in 2010, but he’d only played one game there since, that in 2011.

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Game 20 wrapup: Griffin points no fingers, but A’s defense did him no favors

Nothing seems to bother A’s starter A.J. Griffin when he’s on the mound, which makes him just the sort you’d like to have going for you in an emotional game.

And there was more emotion Monday than you would have in your standard April 22 game, given that it was in Fenway Park just a week after the bombings at the Boston Marathon that bruised a nation’s sense of itself.

“You just go out and pitch, do the same things you always do,’’ was the way Griffin put it going into the game.

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