Defense is Giants’ No. 1 concern 

click to enlarge The Giants’ defense has been struggling with Aubrey Huff, above, filling in for Cody Ross in right field. (AP file photo) - THE GIANTS’ DEFENSE HAS BEEN STRUGGLING WITH AUBREY HUFF, ABOVE, FILLING IN FOR CODY ROSS IN RIGHT FIELD. (AP FILE PHOTO)
  • The Giants’ defense has been struggling with Aubrey Huff, above, filling in for Cody Ross in right field. (AP file photo)
  • The Giants’ defense has been struggling with Aubrey Huff, above, filling in for Cody Ross in right field. (AP file photo)

So right field has turned into the Magical Mystery Tour. And as with last year, the offense seems to be a mystery of its own. Still, the season is not quite two weeks old, and if Giants fans seek a sense of perspective they are urged to check out the disaster that is the Boston Red Sox.

The great thing about baseball, as proved once more Tuesday night at AT&T Park, is that you’re only one game away from satisfaction, especially if Tim Lincecum is the starting pitcher and Brian Wilson is the closer. Yes, it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out at the old beardgame.

The Giants, the World Series champion Giants as the case would be — hard to ignore those banners on the downtown light poles and such — not only had lost two in a row, but in their true “which end of the bat is up?” fashion displayed at times in 2010, scored only one run in each of the losses.

For comparison, last year the Giants were beaten 1-0 in five different games and also lost two games in which their own pitchers threw one-hitters. In other words, our selective memory does not always provide the balance necessary.

Yes, the season has begun with a surrealistic giddiness. The Giants finally broke through after a half-century of failing to make it to the top, and everything has spun off in a merry fashion.

Rings and things and an article in the New York Times, and virtually every kid in San Francisco and Marin suddenly has signed up to play Little League because of their heroes in the big leagues, Los Gigantes.

Miguel Tejada, indeed, has shown his age at shortstop, and poor Aubrey Huff is waving at line drives in right where he has been unfairly, but necessarily, shifted from first because of the Cody Ross injury. Now, the new kid on the block, Brandon Belt, who was at first, apparently will take over in right, and Huff will return to the bag and to his comfort zone.

Did anyone think it was going to be easy? The Los Angeles Dodgers have stopped thinking about the McCourt divorce and started to play as Giants partisans feared. Colorado is getting from Troy Tulowitzki what it should from someone who is an MVP candidate.

If there’s a worry for San Francisco, it’s defense. A team constructed around pitching cannot be allowing four outs an inning and hope to succeed. Not when it scores one run a game.

Buster Posey had three hits on Tuesday evening when in a wonderfully exciting game, one of those classics the Giants and Dodgers have been providing for, what, 75 years, San Francisco defeated Los Angeles 5-4 after being down 3-0.

Before the first pitch, when all the talk was about Andres Torres’ sore Achilles and Cody Ross’ sore leg, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was his usual cool self.

“We have a lot of baseball left,” he pointed out. A cliché? Yes. Accurate? Also, yes.

“We don’t want to fall too far behind here,” Bochy agreed. “We’re a little banged up. The important thing is hold our ground here because this is the tough part of the schedule.”

The equally important thing is they start holding on to ground balls. An error a day keeps the pennant away.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on and Email him at

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