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Thank the heavens that Rich Harden is signed to a long-term deal.

The kid is just nasty. And he's learned to pitch himself out of jams well. As he learns to pitch, he's only going to continue to get better, which is a wonderful thought for us A's fans. We should start calling him Sawchuk because he's the A's stopper right now (I apologize in advance for the hockey reference for those of you who don't like puck).

And Kiko Calero's presence in the bullpen is about as comforting as any middle reliever since maybe Rick Honeycutt? Can you think of anyone else as comforting since then? Yeah, he's going to have a bad outing eventually and it might come from overwork at some point, but the feeling as fan to have him coming out of the pen is like Linus with his security blanket.

On the other hand, and this is getting old and I'm going to stop talking about it after today, but the offense once again made the opposition starting pitcher look like Cy Young, Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan all morphed together, a la Conan O'Brien's "If They Mated."

The good news is that the offense has officially bottomed out. It's last in the major leagues in OPS at .629 and extra base hits with only 18, second to last in batting average, third from last in OBP. Surprisingly, our boys in green and gold are in the middle of the pack in home runs with 10. That's a stat many were concerned about before the season started.

So there's no where to go but up from here. Time to start righting that small sample size, guys. Bring it back to average by going on a tear. I don't believe this offense is that bad...and they will eventually break out of this. It's just odd to have so many bats silent at once. And against people named Bush, Towers, Nomo and two pitchers who hadn't pitched very well until they got to Oakland (Shrek Colon and Washburn).

Tomorrow we get Slingblade Lackey (mmmmm, HMMMM). Let's go Oakland!!!