Giants

Giants' Logan Webb continues hot start, becomes first starter to win

Giants

Somewhere along the line, people stopped talking about Logan Webb.

The Giants' summer camp was dominated by glimpses of Joey Bart, Marco Luciano and other top prospects. Their first couple of weeks have mostly been about Mike Yastrzemski and Donovan Solano, with the rest of the attention being soaked up by sloppy defense and interesting pitching decisions. 

Webb has gone under the radar through two camps and two weeks of the season. But he seems like he's Gabe Kapler's most consistent starter through three starts, and Webb's doing this at just 23 years of age. 

Webb went into Coors Field for the first time and allowed one earned run over five-plus innings, leading the Giants to a 4-3 win that snapped a three-game skid. In three starts, Webb has allowed three earned runs. He has pitched after a loss all three times, and the Giants are 3-0. 

"I think last year when we had Buster (Posey) and Vogter (Stephen Vogt) that's one thing they preached, is pitch a winner," Webb said. "Even if that doesn't go the way you wanted. When you pitch a winner, that's the main thing. That's how I go into every start."

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

 

Webb's start to his second year has been solid but has one notable flaw.

He has thrown just 12 2/3 innings so far this season, which partly has to do with some long innings he has had and partly has to do with a coaching staff that is being hyper-cautious early on. It has been rare this season that a Giants starter even goes deep enough to qualify for a win, and Webb became the first to actually get one.

According to the Giants, this is the first time since at least 1901 that they had no wins from starters over the first dozen games. 

"I still think he felt like he has more in the tank, and you know what, we feel like he has more in the tank," Kapler said. "He's done a really good job of maintaining his stuff. The movement on his changeup has been great, the fastball has had life, and now we just have to tighten up his command even a little bit more, and when he does that he's really capable of going deep into games like some of the better pitchers in the league."

Webb threw just 68 pitches Wednesday, 50 of which were strikes. But as he took the mound in the sixth with a 4-2 lead, he knew he had to keep it clean to keep going. When Tony Wolters opened the inning by lining a fastball into left, Webb was visibly frustrated. He was pulled right away. 

Webb said he was similarly mad that he couldn't last longer in his first two outings, when he was scheduled to go five-plus each time. He worked on adjustments in the bullpen a couple days ago, continuing the theme of his offseason. 

Webb reshaped some of his pitches with the new coaching staff and added a cutter, which he is mixing in more and more. Over time it should be a good weapon for him, particularly against lefties, keeping them off his mid-90s fastball. On this night, he did just enough to help lead the Giants to a needed win, with Brandon Belt providing the punch with a three-run homer and Trevor Gott closing it down in the ninth. 

[RELATED: Despite slump, Panda's swings are impressing Kapler]

A pitcher can't ask for much more than a win at Coors -- "you hear all the horror stories about here," Webb said -- and this one continued an underrated start, one that has a clear next goal. Webb is getting results, now he wants to get them over more innings. 

"I don't feel cautious for Logan's health with respect to pushing him into the nineties (with his pitch count). I think he's been pretty built up," Kapler said. "But one of the messages that we want to stay consistent in sending to our pitchers is that putting up zeroes for as long as you possibly can is really what your job is. Limiting damage is really what your job is. Limiting damage for as long as you have the ball is really how you help the Giants win."

 

Thus far, nobody on the staff has done that better than the youngest starter.