Liotta: Giants need wins in NL West to compete 

As the Giants scrap their way into June, trying to gain traction in the National League West, I’m making the case that, up to this point in the 2010 season, they’re overachieving.

If you were told back in March that one-third of the way through this season that:

Tim Lincecum would look vulnerable (is it overreacting to wonder if the baseball world has fallen off its axis when Bruce Bochy doesn’t want to put the two-time Cy Young Award winner in a situation where he has to throw strikes with bases loaded?); Pablo Sandoval would be out-hit by Aubrey Huff; Matt Cain would be out-pitched by Barry Zito; The Giants would rank above only the Pirates and Astros in runs scored; and the ancient one, Edgar Renteria, would play less than half of the Giants’ games.

Would you have said they’d be anywhere close to contending? I don’t think so.

This has been such an odd season, to say the least.

The Giants can’t beat the Padres (apparently, not many teams can) or the A’s, but the Phillies and Cardinals are no trouble at all.

To have gotten this far with the preseason plan for 2010 success sputtering along at best, count your blessings, Giants fans.
And on that note, it’s officially time to admit that anybody in Giants land needs a coping strategy whenever Bochy brings Brian Wilson in to save a game. For me, it’s a perfect time to calm myself down by lighting my hair on fire.

I’d feel even calmer about the Giants’ chances going forward if Sandoval and Lincecum regained the auras of invincibility I came to expect a year ago.


Random thoughts

There are whispers around professional football that San Jose native Pat Tillman ought to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

One of the treats early in my sports radio career was getting a chance to cover Tillman, and talk to him several times, during his days at Arizona State. He was a truly unique individual, and everything I came to know about him tells me that he’d never want anything given to him he hadn’t earned on the football field. And he’d throw in a few expletives to make his point.

-- I know this won’t make one Sharks fan feel any better, but the more I’ve watched the Chicago Blackhawks during these Stanley Cup playoffs, the more I’m convinced they’re the best team playing the best hockey at the absolute right time — right now.

-- Does anybody care who buys the Warriors? Watching the NBA conference finals had to be a big downer for Bay Area basketball fans. The Warriors are light-years away from playing that well night in, night out.

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

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