San Francisco Giants looking for the missing link 

Call it the search for the “magic” bat.

The never-ending debate over that one hitter who will turn the Giants into an offensive threat again is all Giants fans can talk about.

At the ballpark — before, during and after every game, in the papers and on sports-talk radio, in the sports bars and restaurants across The City, it’s an obsession.

Who will Brian Sabean add to the Giants’ lineup.

Minnesota’s Michael Cuddyer? Cincinnati’s Jonny Gomes? Houston’s Hunter Pence?

And which pitcher is worth giving up to get that hitter?

Do you really think Sabean wants to overpay for a second-rate hitter?

How about looking at the Giants’ current run-starved dilemma in a whole new way?

Defend every talented pitcher in the organization. At all costs.

The Giants lifted themselves to a world championship with a philosophy that everything starts with pitching, and they shouldn’t be tinkering with that philosophy just because runs are hard to come by, as evidence by scoring two runs or less in their first nine losses in June.

Stay the course — because it is still working. Pitching is still the way to go.

Besides, the Giants have overcome as much adversity as any team in baseball this season, and they’re still the favorites to win the National League West.

Embrace Brandon Crawford as the starting shortstop because the Giants are contending even though they have more than a few pitchers struggling. Have you noticed that Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner are, as a quartet, more than a few games under .500?

The Giants have lost three of their most talented hitters — Buster Posey, Freddy Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval — for extended periods. Even last year’s postseason inspiration, Cody Ross, missed most of the first month of the season. And now their much-ballyhooed prospect — Brandon Belt — is on the disabled list, too.

And they’re still in contention.

I know it’s hard to figure out where the runs will come from when Aaron Rowand and Andres Torres find their way into the starting lineup, but keep the faith. Pitching is where it’s at. 

However, if a trade is the only thing that will satisfy you, then it must involve Barry Zito, a bona fide starting left-hander who hasn’t been part of anything Giants — other than three forgettable starts — since last September. If the Giants eat a nice portion of Zito’s salary, they might actually get a hitter — or another pitcher — who can help.

Now that might be worth talking about.

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

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Tim Liotta

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