A Thursday feast of playoff baseball

There are four MLB games this evening. When you compare that to the 14 or 15 that we get most days during the regular season, it shouldn’t be too hard to keep up with them all.

All times are in BST

18.07. San Francisco at Cincinnati (Cain – Latos) *BBC 5 Live Sports Extra, ESPN America
21.07. St. Louis at Washington (Lohse – Detwiler) *BBC 5 Live Sports Extra, ESPN America

00.37. Baltimore at NY Yankees (Saunders – Hughes) *ESPN America
02.37. Detroit at Oakland (Verlander – Parker)

However, this is the postseason and every inning counts for so much more than your bog-standard frame in a mid-June game. As the drama, tension and excitement increases, so does the emotional investment you have in the contests, especially when your chosen team is one of those in the mix.

It’s been six years since I followed a postseason that includes the Oakland A’s and when we lost Game Two of our series against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday – with Coco Crisp’s fielding error costing us dear – I was left wondering for a few demoralised moments whether it’s actually more fun when your team isn’t part of it.

You can enjoy the thrills and spills without going through the nerves, the anxiety and the heartbreak.

I quickly put such thoughts to one side. Playing for high stakes in the playoffs is what we all dream of and we cannot hope to embrace the feeling of joy in potential triumph without accepting that for every winner there has to be a loser.

And that the loser may be your team.

There is every chance that Justin Verlander will weave his magic from the mound to knock the A’s out in the early hours of Friday morning. If so it will take a few days of dejection before I come around to focusing on what an incredible season it has been for my team to even make it to Game 5 of the ALDS.

However, it’s just as possible that the A’s may complete their recovery from an 0-2 deficit, beating last year’s MVP and Cy Young award winner in the decisive game, and add yet another chapter to their ‘team of destiny’ tale.

The possibility of the latter scenario coming true makes all of the nerves worthwhile, even if it won’t feel that way immediately after the final out if the game – and the series – hasn’t gone the A’s way.

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