Liotta: Brian Sabean math adds up for Giants in NL West 

Brian Sabean math.

Addition without subtraction. It’s an equation that has the Giants turned around and feeling like a contender again.

With their offense struggling during a rough patch that saw them fall to 23-22 in late May, the Giants began restocking their offensive attack without a flurry of fanfare, without a single press conference.

And little things have added up.

Freddy Sanchez joined the lineup from the disabled list on May 19. Buster Posey arrived from the minors on May 29. And Pat Burrell was signed to a minor league contract and joined things on June 5.

The Giants went on to win 13 of their next 18 games, scoring five or more runs 11 times, getting themselves right back into the thick of the National League West Division race.

Edgar Renteria was activated earlier this week, and, remember, Mark DeRosa is out there somewhere, hopefully getting healthy enough to help out again later this season.

Thanks to the reinforcements, the Giants are making their formula to win with outstanding pitching and defense, with an offense competent enough to score enough runs to make evident the first two parts of the puzzle, a reality. Further reinforcements may be necessary, but for now it’s working.

And it’s working because manager Bruce Bochy has a roster of solid veterans who can be mixed and matched according to matchups, productivity and chemistry. This is not a rotisserie team of big names, this is nothing more than putting veterans with some history of success in position to succeed — and hoping they come through.

Burrell is a signature Sabean move, the kind of little-to-lose addition that could bring benefits. Sabean excels in finding solid, but not the flashiest veteran players who could use a change of scenery.

Sometimes they work — think Randy Winn, Moises Alou or Bengie Molina. Sometimes they don’t — think Ryan Garko.
Hopefully, Burrell will prove to be a solution that lasts the next three months or so.

Add to that Pablo Sandoval continuing to remember how he hit last year, and Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain resuming their dominating routines of 2009. That kind of Sabean math should make AT&T Park a pretty interesting place to be this summer.


Random Thoughts

A seventh and deciding game that capped off a compelling NBA finals wasn’t enough to tilt the NBA playoffs back into my must-see sporting spectacles. Too many bad games, bad series.

-- I admit the World Cup can be a tough watch for the uninitiated. But if you’re willing to sit down, watch every minute of a single game — be sure that Spain is involved — and I promise you there will be the athletic artistry that the rest of the world has fallen in love with.


Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at

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