San Francisco Giants’ new pieces need time to join the torture 

Maybe playing this “torture” brand of baseball is even more difficult than we thought.

These new-look Giants are certainly struggling to do it.

There is no way it could be labeled as a step backward by adding Carlos Beltran, Orlando Cabrera and Jeff Keppinger to the how-are-they-doing-this roster the Giants were fielding the early parts of July.

After watching the likes of Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Emmanuel Burriss, Bill Hall and Mike Fontenot parade through the Giants’ lineup, everybody agreed help was needed.

And nobody complained when the new trio found their way into the Giants’ dressing room.

The funny thing is that since those three have been added, there hasn’t been a single late-inning comeback.

The torture of waiting for late-inning heroics has been replaced by rather routine wins and losses. Mostly losses.

Unfortunately, Beltran has not been the hitter the Giants have needed. Sure, he looks good on paper, but until he starts hitting a few home runs, and really puts a scare into opposition pitchers, there’s not much difference between him and Belt.

One thing we all must remember is that it took the Giants until late in the season last year to perfect their torture routine.

Through Aug. 30, the Giants were 72-60 (a .545 winning percentage). From there, they went 31-14 (a .688 winning percentage) as they ran down the San Diego Padres, and through the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers en route to their first world championship since moving to the Bay Area.

Sure, the Giants added Cody Ross down the stretch, but that is a small step compared to switching out three core positions, not to mention adding a heart-of-the-order hitter like Beltran.

So maybe, just maybe, these new-look Giants need a big dose of patience as they rekindle their 2011 version of torture. Unfortunately, Giants fans, like the Giants, are out of options. 


Random thoughts

- Last week, for the first time in my life, I rooted for a caddie. And all the hoopla about Steve Williams’ interview after Adam Scott won while Tiger Woods finished far back is media meddling. Nobody asked Williams about Scott.

- No matter what the 49ers do this preseason — good or bad — it means little once the regular season begins. That says something about the way the preseason is played, but it also says something about Alex Smith, who must prove he can handle regular-season intensity.

- One last thing about the 49ers in 2011: How fun is it going to be watching Patrick Willis play this season? He is the best front-seven player in the game.

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

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