The A's and Giants were among the biggest surprises of the first half of the baseball season, obviously for opposite reasons.
Of course, we expected the A's to have the second-best record in the American League and a two-game lead over the Texas Rangers in the West at the All-Star break.
And we certainly knew Bartolo Colon would be 12-3, Josh Donaldson would be having a career year (.310, 16 home runs, 61 RBIs), and Jed Lowrie would be hitting a career-high .295.
And if you believe that, we've got a bridge to sell you (the new one should come at a deep discount these days).
Seriously, the A's have played beyond anyone's wildest expectations, with 13 more victories than the Giants, the defending World Series champs.
The only thing keeping us from holding our nose when we talk about the Giants' first half is the amazing no-hitter Tim Lincecum tossed against the Padres on Saturday and the continued excellence of catcher-first baseman Buster Posey (.325, 13 home runs, 56 RBIs).
Though the Giants got pounded 10-1 Sunday by those same Padres, the Giants won three of four heading into the break, giving fans a bit of hope that they can make up a 6 1/2-game deficit in the second half.
We're betting the A's and Giants both still will be in the hunt when September rolls around.
The season resumes Friday, so let's play ball.
What to watch
Pitching gems, 7 p.m., CSNCA, and 7:30 p.m., CSNBA: Comcast will replay Dallas Braden's 2010 perfect game for the A's on CSNCA and Saturday's no-hitter by the Giants' Tim Lincecum on CSNBA.
Who will finish with the better record?
Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field; or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports
How should the starting pitchers for the All-Star Game be decided?
Named by managers: 59%
Voted by fans: 27%
Pitcher with most wins: 14%
Total votes: 141
The last word
What you're saying on sacbee.com comments:
"You're wrong about Bochy holding a grudge of any kind. Kershaw needs to learn his place. Nobody else is crying about their place on the team. They're all used to being the star on their respective teams. Get this clown out of here. Nobody cares about the flippin' Dodgers anyways. Watch, they will choke down the line no matter how many players they keep buying!" – SugarRay, on "Kershaw vs. Bochy – exactly why the beef?" in Wednesday's Leading Off
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Call The Bee's Tom Couzens, (916) 321-1097. Follow him on Twitter @tomcouzens.