With a 76-57 mark, Oakland are 3 games behind Texas in the AL West and are currently leading the chase for one of two Wild Card spots, a scenario few would’ve predicted in Spring Training any more than you’d have forecast retread skipper Bob Melvin being touted as a Manager Of The Year candidate. Hoping to spice up Melvin’s candidacy, the SF Chronicle’s Scott Ostler (“Maybe A’s BoMel should get a Nobel”) promises, “If Hollywood makes a ‘Moneyball’ sequel about this season’s amazin’ A’s, I guarantee the manager won’t be portrayed as a fat guy with a sour attitude.”

BoMel is one hot manager. That’s what the players call him, BoMel. How’s that for creativity? Sounds like a tummy medicine.

But what are you going to do? Melvin isn’t a quote machine, not a loose cannon, not a crusty blow-top, not a cocky gum-snapper. Just a fellow who calmly works every angle and keeps all his players up to date on exactly where they stand and how they will be used. I guess Mr. Communication isn’t much of a nickname.

How about Melly? The Professor?

Brandon Inge, who goes way back with BoMel, got on a soapbox before Sunday’s game to explain what he likes about the skipper.

“Everything that he does,” Inge said. “The way he writes the lineup out, the way he considers your feelings every single day. He considers every guy. He communicates with everyone in here. Everyone knows their role, and I’ve had managers in the past that weren’t very good at communicating. (On other teams) when one guy would sit one day, he wouldn’t know why. He wouldn’t know his role. It’s not like that here. And on top of it, he would do the same for any one of us here. He’d take a bullet for any one of us, I guarantee you. It’s kind of like one of those things where when you’re being treated with that much respect, you’d better treat him with that same respect.”

Inge’s take on Melvin s in stark contrast to the people skills (or lack thereof) attributed to Larry Lucchino’s hand-picked replacement for Terry Francona.