Kapler believes Webb has 'another gear' after great start

Logan Webb

This is the Logan Webb the Giants believed they were getting after a dominant spring training. The one they thought can have the best stuff on the staff at times, despite having a 5.47 ERA last season and a 5.22 ERA as a rookie. 

Still, manager Gabe Kapler insists Webb can be better. Much better. 

"It was definitely the best outcomes of the season for Logan," Kapler said to reporters after the Giants' 4-3 win Sunday over the Miami Marlins. "Surprisingly, I think there's another gear. I'm sure you didn't expect me to come out and say this about Logan. There were some moments where he fell behind there in counts. There were some misses to the arm side and the glove side that were substantial.

"I just think there's an even better version of Logan. Today was a definite step in the right direction. ... Overall, a great performance. I just can't help but think that there's even more in the tank here."

Webb came into Sunday with a 5.87 ERA on the season. He left with it 1.84 points lower, dropping his ERA to 4.03 after tossing seven scoreless innings. The 24-year-old also tied a career-high with eight strikeouts. 

However, Webb finished the day with three walks and hit two batters. 

He too knows this isn't close to the best version of himself. 

"I'm still not where I want to be, honestly," Webb said. "Couple of the at-bats were a little sloppy. I hate four-pitch walks. I'm not a big fan of that. 


"But I'm gonna take a lot of positives away from today and just keep building off that and keep working on getting there." 

Webb's first inning was a microcosm of how he has pitched at times this season. He struck out Jazz Chisholm Jr. on a nasty changeup to start the game and then got Miguel Rojas to fly out to right field. The right-hander needed only seven pitches to get his first two outs. He followed that up with a four-pitch walk and then nailed Garrett Cooper on the first pitch of his at-bat. 

Now in some trouble, Webb forced a Corey Dickerson groundout two pitches later. All in all it was just a 14-pitch inning, though a rocky one. 

Webb wouldn't use the rain at the start of the game as an excuse. He clearly settled in though as the skies cleared up as well. 

Over seven innings, Webb earned a prototypical "effectively wild" win. He led all pitchers with 13 swing and misses. He also threw strikes on only 54 percent of his 107 pitches. 

"Logan deserves credit for having pitches that move a lot and for consistently being off barrel," Kapler said. "So even though he falls behind from time to time, or there's a wild miss here and there, when he gets back in the zone, he's really hard to square up. 

"The most important reason I feel so strongly about how good he'll be if there's no waste pitches and he's just in attack mode the entire game. It's just really hard to square him up. ... That version is actually a good version of Logan Webb. When every once in a while a ball gets smoked into the gap because he leaves the changeup in the middle of the plate, that's OK. That will allow him to pitch deep into games and be a really good pitcher in this league. 

"But it's gonna be difficult falling behind the best lineups in baseball. They're gonna punish you and it's gonna be difficult to get out of some jams he was able to get out of today. ... Again, this is about my belief in Logan and how good I think he can be. 

"I think today's a good example of kind of the floor for him. I think there are better games in there."

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It was a challenge from his manager in the best way possible. Webb had a 0.53 ERA in the spring. He struck out 22 batters in 17 innings, and only walked two. 

Kapler knows that version of Webb is in there. He can't nibble, though. He has to attack. 

Webb attacked every aspect of the game Sunday, and great things happened in a series-clinching win. 

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