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Kapler explains why Webb is Giants' Game 1 starter choice

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Logan Webb and Kevin Gausman have a good-natured rivalry at the plate. Gausman was mildly annoyed when Webb was going to be the choice to play left field earlier this season, but he got bragging rights in September with a walk-off sacrifice fly. Last weekend, Webb took them back with a two-run homer, the only one of the year by a Giants pitcher. 

When it comes to the rotation, though, there's nothing but pride in each other's accomplishments. 

Webb was named the Giants' Game 1 starter on Wednesday, with Gausman getting Game 2 of the National League Division Series. After the announcement Webb said Gausman was "honestly more excited than I am for me." 

"That's been pretty cool," he said. "That's the type of person he is."

Webb said he considers Gausman to be the "big brother I never had," but in the NLDS the two will be a tag team. Gabe Kapler could have gone either way and been right, as both pitchers will be available for a potential Game 5 no matter what else happens. But Kapler said Webb felt like the right choice, and not just because of his second-half numbers. 

"The extra days seem to bring out the best velocity from Gaus, the best action on the split, a little bit more endurance in-game, and I think Gaus expects to get even more life and stuff with the postseason adrenaline," Kapler said. "Kind of the combination of those things is what makes us feel good about the way we've set it up."

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Gausman will have six days of rest before his Game 2 start. He had a 3.60 ERA in the regular season when pitching on normal rest, but it was 2.16 on five days of rest and 2.55 on six or more days. The Giants are dealing with small samples, but Gausman also gave up a lower opponents' batting average when he got extra rest. 

Webb also had a lower ERA when given extra rest, but Kapler said his body is responding to the late-season charge. At 24, Webb is the youngest pitcher on the staff and has by far the fewest miles on his arm. 

"First and probably foremost, I think Webby's body is just bouncing back really, really well," Kapler said. "I think at this stage it's always good when we can get Gaus an additional day. It's always good when we can get anybody an additional day, but I think overall recovery is what we were thinking about. Both guys are 100 percent healthy, strong, and ready to pitch, it's just this is the way we felt like from a rest-and-recovery standpoint we could have both pitchers at their best."

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