OAKLAND Bob Melvin, in his first full season managing the A's, led a team that traded its top three pitchers over the offseason and had the lowest payroll in baseball to 94 wins and the American League West title.
Buck Showalter, in his second full season at the helm in Baltimore, took an Orioles team that hadn't had a winning campaign in 14 years to a 93-win season and its first playoff appearance since 1997.
They are the leading candidates for A.L. manager of the year, and if Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland had his way, neither would go unrecognized.
"Not to put the cart before the horse, but I hope that Buck Showalter and Bob Melvin are co-managers of the year this year," Leyland said before his team played the A's in Game 3 of their division series Tuesday. "If there was ever a year that there should be two guys that get the award, I would say this is the year."
Leyland himself has been voted manager of the year three times, most recently in his first year with the Tigers in 2006, when he led Detroit to the World Series.
He said the Tigers were keeping an eye on the A's during the final week of this season, as the A's swept a six-game homestand to become the first team ever to win its division after being five games out of first place with less than 10 to play.
"It's an unbelievable job that's happened here, what (general manager) Billy Beane and Bob Melvin have done," Leyland said.
Quick rise Right-hander A.J. Griffin, the A's Game 4 starter, also pitched in the playoffs last season the California League playoffs, for Oakland's Class-A affiliate in Stockton.
"I didn't have a press conference at this time last year," Griffin quipped Tuesday.
Griffin, 24, started this season in Double-A Midland, making seven starts there and 10 at Triple-A Sacramento before the A's called him up in June.
He won his first six decisions, finishing 7-1 with a 3.06 earned run average, and the A's went 12-3 in his starts.
His lone loss came against the Tigers on Sept. 18, the first of his final four-game stretch in which he gave up 14 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings.
"I think he just got a little frustrated with his command," Melvin said.
"It's been so good. And you can tell when he's not throwing the ball where he wants it to go, he gets a little confused by that. But we have a lot of confidence in him."
Et cetera Longtime A's radio broadcaster Bill King is one of 10 finalists for the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award, given for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
King, who called A's games for 25 years before his death in 2005, was one of the three finalists selected by fans through online balloting.