So far, they have learned how tough taking off can be: The Athletics are two games under .500 since the all-star break and lost two of three to the Orioles, including a 10-3 rout in Sunday’s series finale. But they nonetheless hold the American League’s second wild-card spot by 1 1 / 2 games over Cleveland and two games over Baltimore, and remain in the hunt for the American League West title, trailing Texas by 2 1 / 2games. And this year’s team sees a few key characteristics it shares with its predecessor.
“Chemistry” is a science term commandeered to describe something that’s anything but scientific, but ask players in the Oakland clubhouse — where couches filled with players in gold and green zebra-striped pants reveal the camaraderie — and they’ll tell you it’s a prerequisite to late-season success.
– Chelsea James, Washington Post
Look, no matter how the 49ers’ backup quarterback situation behind Colin Kaepernick shook out before opening day, it wasn’t going to be as good as last season, when the team had Kaepernick ready when starter Alex Smith went down with a concussion — and Kaepernick turned out to be as good or better than Smith.
The 49ers, though, were looking for a scenario as close to that as possible, even with Smith gone to the Chiefs. And the uncertainty of the 49ers’ backup spot was becoming an issue — involving McCoy, Scott Tolzien, B.J. Daniels, Seneca Wallace and the entire cast of Beach Blanket Babylon. Or so it seemed.
– Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News
Oakland cut former Pro Bowl kick returner Josh Cribbs, a veteran they had big plans for, and that wasn’t even the biggest story of the day. It came in third.
With only one game left in the preseason, the Raiders have yet to determine who will start at quarterback. Uncertainty remains on the offensive line, too, where the team is considering someone at left tackle who has never played the position in his life.
– Vic Tafur, San Francisco Chronicle