With a football resurgance going on in the Bay Area – the Raiders and 49ers are both off the great starts in the NFL season – Northern California baseball fans are wondering what it would be like if their MLB teams returned to contention next year. Sure, the Giants are, for a few more days, the reigning World Series champions, but they took a step back this year. But, if you know us, you know Doin Work is more about the A’s anyway. Over the second half of the season, it became clear that Oakland is not too far off from being competitive again. The pitching was clearly there, they just needed to find the offense to go with it, which has been a problem since the A’s went to the ALCS in 2006. But after we finally got rid of manager Bob Geren, the hitting finally came around. Problem is, the pitching suffered. Injuries were a factor, losing guys like Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson certainly hurt, but even ace Trevor Cahill had a down year. While I’m not so sure pitching coach Ron Romanick was the problem, there’s no denying the fact that the A’s pitching staff had much success under his predecessor, Curt Young. Young was let go last year to take the Boston Red Sox position, but we all know what happened there last year. With the Epstein-Francona regime ousted from power, Curt was left looking for a new team. Fortunately, the A’s wereright here waiting (as Richard Marx once sang in 1989 when Young helped pitch the A’s to a World Series pennant). Before he left to coach the Red Sox beer-drinking, fried chicken eating, video game playing bums, Young led the A’s staff to a 3.47 ERA, the lowest for an AL team in 20 years. It’s pretty much the same staff he left, with Braden and Anderson set to rejoin Cahill, and perhaps the new ace of the staff, all-star Gio Gonzalez. So, if Curt Young can help return the rotation to top form, it will allow the A’s front office and coaching staff to focus all of their attention on the offense, where it absolutely belongs.