The Braves have turned a plague of injuries into a rebuilding process that may put them in contention for another six years. On the West Coast, there is Oakland. If the Athletics survive this week's trip to Anaheim and Texas, they may be back in the wild-card race without a year of rebuilding.
When they made the Mark Mulder deal with the Cardinals, the A's were called "the Kansas City Royals West" on SportsCenter. When they were 17-32 in May, all the insecurities unleashed in "Moneyball" spewed out into ridicule -- the critics not bothering to note that Oakland was crippled by injuries at the time, something no small market team can afford.