Edgar Martinez offers Warriors some advice on balancing between setting wins record and focusing on NBA title

As the Golden State Warriors head into their last two games with the chance to set the NBA record for most wins in the regular season, we thought it would be a good time to talk to someone who’s been there.

Enter Edgar Martinez, the longtime Seattle Mariner designated hitter, the man for whom the American League DH of the Year title is named. Martinez, now the Mariners’ hitting coach, was a key member of the 2001 Seattle team that set the AL record for most wins in a regular season.

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Breaking down the A’s AL playoff possibilities

So what, exactly, did the A’s accomplish by winning Friday and moving to within one game of securing an American League Wild Card berth?

Perhaps not as much as you might think. Or maybe much more.

The A’s can still host the Tuesday Wild Card game. They can go on the road for the Tuesday Wild Card game. Or they can miss out on Tuesday all together.

Here’s how it all breaks down:

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A’s could make it easy on themselves with two wins, but …

The A’s and the Mariners are taking two very different treks to the same goal.

Only one of them will make it.

Oakland jumped out to the best record in baseball for the better part of four months and has been backsliding ever since.

Seattle was 11 games behind the A’s on Aug. 4 and was only four games over .500. From that point, the Mariners went on a 22-8 tear to get back into the pennant race, relying heavily on the A’s stumbling.

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A’s have nothing but respect for new-look Mariners

Felix Hernandez leads a Mariners' team that is the best it's been in a decade.

Felix Hernandez leads a Mariners’ team that is the best it’s been in a decade.

Once the A’s prime competition in the American League West came from Southern California.

Now with the Angels having steamrolled the West while Oakland slumped, the A’s must look to the Pacific Northwest, where the Seattle Mariners would like nothing better than to knock the A’s out of the Wild Card race.

The A’s and Mariners play three games this weekend in Safeco Field.

And while the Mariners haven’t seen the post-season since the world was young, the A’s are facing a team that could either join them in the Wild Card game or knock Oakland out of it.

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Hale’s early interview with M’s good sign for him

A’s bench coach Chip Hale sat down with Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik and Seattle scouting director Tom McNamara for about three hours midday Wednesday to talk about Hale’s suitability to become the Mariners’ next manager.

Hale, who has been through the process in Seattle before when the club was looking for a skipper back in 2008, said afterward he thought the interview went “very well;S we talked a lot of baseball,’’ but this is just the first step for Seattle, which is expected to talk to other potential managers in the coming days.

Still, it’s likely a good sign for Hale’s chances that he was interviewed so early in the process.

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Mariners talking to A’s Hale about manager’s job

The Seattle Mariners will interview A’s bench coach Chip Hale about their open managerial job later this morning.

Multiple baseball sources confirmed that Hale, who was one of the finalists for the job the last time it was open in the fall of 2010, will meet Mariners’ general manager Jack Zduriencik. The two men will meet in Phoenix, Zduriencik, coming down from Seattle and Hale coming up from his home in the Tucson area.

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Davis could be appealing to M’s as next skipper

The A’s have had a rather easy time of it this year.

The players have been happy with the manager and the front office. The manager has balanced the players’ needs with the front office’s desires. And the front office has had no reason to complain about much of anything.

It’s not like that in much of baseball, however. The A’s are going to the playoffs. Two-thirds of Major League teams won’t be. One of those is Seattle, and the Mariners made the kind of news Friday that losing teams make entirely too often.

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Schedule inequities on display this week with A’s hosting Yankees in New York’s one trip West

There will never be a time when the three American League West teams located on the eastern rim of the Pacific Ocean – the A’s, the Mariners and the Angels – won’t have troubling schedules.

They are about 1,500 miles from the other two teams in their division, Texas and Houston, and further still from the rest of the American League venues.

The question we pose here today is why the schedule makers insist on making things worse than they already are.

The Yankees, who come to town for three games beginning Tuesday, are in Oakland as the middle stop in a three-city West Coast swing. They’ve been to Seattle, and next they head to Anaheim.

The Orioles have already had a three-city junket to the West Coast. The Red Sox, in July, and the Rays in late August and early September, will do likewise.

Such a schedule makes it easy for those teams, minimizing the amount of mileage each accrues and leaving them with just two cross country flights for the AL West portion of the schedule – one to the West Coast and one back to the East Coast. With a day off mid-trip and another after after, it’s as close to a piece of cake as schedule makers can devise.

How many of the West Coast teams have reciprocal deals? None. The A’s, the Angels and the Mariners each must take three separate trips to say they’ve visited those same four cities. Oakland, for example, had Tampa Bay and Boston on an April trip, but their trip to New York was coupled with stops in Cleveland and Seattle. The trip to Baltimore later in the year will also include a stop in Detroit.

The city breakdown for the Angels and the Mariners is a little different, but the basics are the same. The Angels may have the most ludicrous of trips to visit one of those four East Coast cities, heading to Seattle and Milwaukee before making it to Tampa Bay.

It’s subtle, but it’s East Coast bias at a substantial level. The three West Coast teams are always going to have to fly the most miles, but by this kind of discriminatory scheduling, the Major League Baseball makes it worse than it has to.

There was a time in the 1980s and 1990 when the A’s could generally count on a three-city Baltimore-Boston-New York trip, but as the number of teams have expanded, the number of divisions has increased to three and interleague play has become season-long, that seems to have gone.

It should return, because the West Coast teams have enough built-in scheduling issues as it is. The A’s, for example, have five different trips to the Eastern Time Zone. And with the addition of Houston to the AL West this year, there are a total of six stops in the state of Texas for each West Coast team.

The West Coasters would be getting a break if they could play the Rangers and the Astros as part of a combined trip, but that hasn’t been deemed important. The A’s had one Texas-Houston trip this season, but that’s it and the other four stops will be combined with trips to other cities.

The Angels have it even worse. They have no conjoined Texas-Houston series, so they have to fly to into and out of the State of Texas six different times. That’s a joke.

You can bet that Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t see the humor in it. It’s a good bet that he, A’s manager Bob Melvin and Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge would supplicate themselves at the altar of MLB in New York if they thought it would bring about any change.

There are always going to be schedule inequities with the bulk of Major League Baseball teams concentrated in the Eastern and Central time zones. But it’s time somebody in the scheduling department of the commissioner’s office did something to level the playing field a bit.


The homer that wasn’t still a topic of conversation

As most of you know, before I took over covering the A’s this year, I used to cover the Mariners.

Before covering the Mariners, I covered the A’s way back when, but that’s not the issue in front of us.

The thing is, there were plenty of friendly faces when I made a quick pass through the Seattle clubhouse before Friday’s series opener.

Guess what they wanted to talk about? The home run that was denied the A’s Adam Rosales Wednesday night in Cleveland when video replay inexplicably went against him in the form of acting crew chief Angel Hernandez.

Now the Mariners didn’t want to go on the record. They don’t want to pay a penalty for speaking truth to power. There is an uneasy coexistence between players and umpires, and tilting the balance isn’t productive.

But they were plenty willing to talk about the play, which some of them saw live on a flight back to Seattle from Toronto.

“Man, what was that all about?’’ one player said. “That call was as bad as I’ve ever seen.’’

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It’ll be a rusty Casper Wells playing for the A’s

Casper Wells, the latest addition to the Oakland roster, is just the latest to learn that baseball isn’t fair – not even close.

The outfielder began the season with the A’s, but the ascension of veteran local product Jason Bay squeezed him out of a job. Wells was designated for assignment, that uniquely baseball move in which a team has 10 days to trade a player, release him or re-sign him to a minor league contract if he clears waivers.

During the 10 days, Wells couldn’t work out with the A’s or anyone, so he didn’t face live pitching. The Toronto Blue Jays claimed him, and so he went to work for Toronto. But he didn’t get into a game, and five days after the Jays claimed him, they, too, used the DFA move to get their roster in balance.

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