Ah fall, my favorite season – the changing leaves, brand new school supplies and, of course, the World Series. This October is especially amazing because it could be a green October, with my Oakland Athletics in the hunt for the ring.

Yesterday, my boys of the East Bay kicked off the playoffs with a victory over the dreaded Minnesota Twins. The A’s will continue their winning ways and come home to the tarp covered McAfee Coliseum with the greatest trophy in baseball…

If Esteban Loaiza can stay sober enough to put forth performances like he did in the month of August. The dude went 4-0 in 42 innings and pitched with a 1.43 ERA in August to help the A’s stay hot and in pursuit of the pennant. When he takes the field tomorrow afternoon against the Twins and pitches like everyone knows he can, the A’s will be one game closer to winning the series.

If the A’s can all take a page out of Jason Kendall’s book and be patient at the plate. It’s very simple: The more pitches you take, the more of the pitcher’s junk you get to see and the more tired the pitchers get.

If the A’s can get people on base and not leave them there. Oakland has a sick habit of leaving runners on base and that does not score runs. Yesterday, they stranded 12 runners. The key to runs is bringing runners in to score.

If Rich Harden and the rest of the injury-prone members on the team can stay healthy. Where has Rich Harden been all my life? Should he actually be able to pitch for an entire year, my boys of the Bay will be unstoppable. He is definitely clutch in the pitching rotation and here’s hoping that all the time off this year will not affect his performance this postseason.

If Frank Thomas’s dual home run performance yesterday is any indication of what is to come, then the A’s are good to go. Costing the club just $500,000, not including incentives to hit well – 39 homers and 114 RBI – he is the best acquisition that genius GM Billy Beane has ever landed. After spending 16 years as Minnesota’s biggest rival in Chicago, Thomas’s old vengeance is a great advantage for the A’s because he knows exactly what to expect with the Twins and the Metrodome.

If Oakland can continue dominating Minnesota’s pitching. Johan Santana lost his first home start for the Twins since August 2005. Unless they get too much inside their own heads, if the A’s can beat Santana, they can beat anyone.

If they do not choke. The A’s are 0-9 in games that they could have clinched, just ask any A’s fan, they can tell you all about it. Oakland needs to lock it up and win and get ‘er done early so they do not have the opportunity to eat it.

Daily Nexus AP Editor Anna Oleson-Wheeler cried herself to sleep when the A’s failed to clinch in game five in 2002.