Don’t give up on San Francisco Giants just yet 

click to enlarge On the rise: The impact Brandon Crawford has made since being called up from the minors is one reason Giants fans should remain optimistic despite mounting injuries. (AP file photo) - ON THE RISE: THE IMPACT BRANDON CRAWFORD HAS MADE SINCE BEING CALLED UP FROM THE MINORS IS ONE REASON GIANTS FANS SHOULD REMAIN OPTIMISTIC DESPITE MOUNTING INJURIES. (AP FILE PHOTO)
  • On the rise: The impact Brandon Crawford has made since being called up from the minors is one reason Giants fans should remain optimistic despite mounting injuries. (AP file photo)
  • On the rise: The impact Brandon Crawford has made since being called up from the minors is one reason Giants fans should remain optimistic despite mounting injuries. (AP file photo)

I’ve read the Giants’ obituaries born of the crash of Buster Posey, and I believe the news of their death is greatly exaggerated.

Oh, they’re going to sputter and have their tough stretches — they’re never going to be an offensive juggernaut — but they were built on pitching and defense, and that is what will carry them the rest of the way in 2011.

Nobody gave them much of a chance last year, and they wound up winning a world championship.

A year ago at this time, Posey was nothing more than wishful thinking. Before the year was out, Pablo Sandoval was a bust. Mark DeRosa wound up an injury statistic. Barry Zito faded like he was washed up. It wasn’t perfect, but the Giants did what it took to win it all.

With this team’s pitching, all it takes is getting to the playoffs. And in the National League West, that’s not a tall order. 

Who scares you in this division?

No matter how well they’ve played the past three weeks, the Arizona Diamondbacks will return to awful. The Colorado Rockies are hit-and-miss at best. The Los Angeles Dodgers are genuinely terrible. And the San Diego Padres are doing everything they can to join the Pacific Coast League.

Despite the loss of Posey, the Giants are in the thick of the race, even with Sandoval injured, with Aubey Huff a ghost of his 2010 self and with Cody Ross trying to catch up after his injury.

The Giants don’t have to go 162-0 to defend their championship. They simply have to be better than the Diamondbacks and the Rockies.

Brian Sabean will find help. That help won’t be the big, juicy names the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox swoon over, but it will be help nonetheless. Cody Ross help. Not Manny Ramirez help.

The story of the 2011 Giants has plenty of twists and turns ahead, some none of us could imagine. Who knew Brandon Crawford’s name three weeks ago?

The reason Major League Baseball is such a great sport to follow is that it takes 162 games to prove who deserves to play postseason baseball.

Nobody should be writing obituaries at this point of the season, especially if that obituary counts on the proud play of Arizona or Colorado.

Random thought

Of all the change-the-game chatter that’s gone on since Posey was injured, only one suggestion makes sense, and it has to do with the foul line.

The runner should have to stay in foul territory as he runs from third to home. If a catcher positions himself in foul territory, he’s fair game. If he’s in fair territory — where Posey was — he should not have to worry about a collision.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. Email him at tliotta@sfexaminer.com.

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