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The Big Picture

Well, after a loss like this, it's tempting to look for easily identified, "personal" narratives: Giambi once again returning to torment the A's, A-Rod and his continued hot streak (or, alternately, Huston Street and his continued dominance of A-Rod), Crosby's continued shaky D, the Geren Blowing Out His 'Pen Before May Watch, the Shannon Stewart Offensive Death Watch, the Jason Kendall Offensive Coma Watch, the Joe Torre Finally Using Mo Rivera on the Road in a Tie Game Watch ...

But I think this loss fits into a larger pattern, more significant and telling: that the A's offense simply isn't very good, and will continue to not be very good, barring the addition of 2 or more above-average bats.

The starting pitching, 'pen, and defense are all relatively deep (even with the injuries) and reliable. And those 3 factors alone will ensure that the A's remain competitive in most games.

But the offense that can't deliver a knockout blow to Darrell Rasner and Brian Cashman's motley crew of replacement-level relievers is an offense that won't boost the team appreciably above .500.

Yes, to be sure, 12 games is awfully early in the season to be writing the epitaph for the A's offense. It's also a little early for an oaktoonish dash for the liferafts.

But my preseason prediction that the A's would be outperformed offensively by the Giants is looking like a pretty safe bet so far.