The San Francisco Giants’ lineup needs a major boost 

As their patched-up jalopy of an offense huffs, puffs and wheezes toward the trade deadline, I’ll wonder aloud whether the 2011 version of the Giants has what it takes to shift gears into postseason overdrive like it did a year ago.

While there are plenty of similarities to last year’s roster that rolled to The City’s first World Series title, upon closer inspection, there are some significant gaps between last October’s Giants and the bunch Bruce Bochy trots out there these days.

Obviously, Buster Posey, Juan Uribe, Edgar Renteria and likely Freddy Sanchez won’t be here this time around.

That’s 50 hits, five home runs and 23 RBIs removed from last year’s postseason that need replacing.

Replacing them with Eli Whiteside, Emmanuel Burriss and Brandon Crawford can not give these Giants the same postseason zip as a year ago. That’s three steps backwards.

And as tempting as it might be to paint Brandon Belt into postseason heroics, it would be unfair to expect anything from a rookie playing in the postseason spotlight for the first time. 

Also missing is the 2010 version Andres Torres, who sculpted one of the great comeback stories in baseball last year.

Unfortunately, even though he’s been better of late, Torres has to make a similar comeback from the season he’s had so far this year.

That said, Pablo Sandoval has regained his 2009 form, so that’s a genuine step forward.

Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff are pushes, and I’ll place the Nate Schierholtz we’ve seen the past month or so in the plus column (vs. Pat Burrell a year ago).

Remember, in the other dugout across the way will be the Phillies or the Braves or a Central Division team (pick from the Cardinals, Brewers and Pirates). These are teams that pitch well on a nightly basis, and they can hit.

We’re talking about the postseason here, not beating up on the Diamondbacks, Rockies, Dodgers and Padres, which the Giants have done so nicely in recent weeks.

I’m officially on the record saying the Giants shouldn’t trade a prospect who figures to be a big part of their future, which would put Brian Sabean in a tough spot trying to find this group some postseason help.

And they do need help. Put these Giants — in their current state — up against the Phillies or Braves, and I don’t know how you could favor them in a postseason series.

The Phillies are as good or better than they were last year, and the Braves are definitely better.

Can we honestly say the same thing about the Giants?

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

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