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Why Webb will have to wait for rematch with Dodgers

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The last time the Los Angeles Dodgers were at Oracle Park, they saw more of Logan Webb than they wanted to. But the rematch will have to wait. 

With Alex Cobb on the IL, the Giants had originally listed Thursday's starter for the finale against the Colorado Rockies as "TBA," with Webb seemingly lined up for Friday night's game against the Dodgers.

But manager Gabe Kapler said Webb will start Thursday and the Giants will likely have a bullpen game at some point this weekend. 

Kapler has generally gone with a day-by-day approach in his three seasons with the Giants, especially when divulging rotation plans. Asked about Webb not facing the Dodgers, he pointed out the importance of winning Thursday, too. 

"We want to win today's game and we want to win the games against the Dodgers, and we feel like we have good plans in place with good starting pitchers, quality starting pitchers, to be good against the Dodgers as well," Kapler said.

Still, the move is a surprising one, and not just because it keeps the Giants from throwing their Opening Day starter against the first-place Dodgers, a team he dominated in the postseason. 

At just about every turn over the last couple of seasons, Kapler and his staff have prioritized extra rest for the starting pitchers. Webb has made four starts this year on the normal four days rest, five with an extra day and two with two extra days. The Giants had a chance to build in a bullpen game on Thursday and give Webb one extra day but didn't take it. 


"There are ways for us to buy him days at other points," Kapler said. "This is at least in part due to Alex Cobb not being in the rotation. It just changed things a little bit and we're in a space where we needed to move things around and this is how we chose to do it."

The staff's preference the last couple of years has been to wait as long as possible to reveal pitching probables, and Kapler stuck to that Wednesday. The Giants have talked internally about using the bullpen game Saturday, but either of the first two games would work, with Jakob Junis and Carlos Rodón also starting in the series. 

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No matter how the Giants line it up, they're likely to lean heavily on second-year lefty Sam Long, who went three strong relief innings on Tuesday night in a performance Kapler called his best of the year. Long played a role in bullpen games early in the year and can give the Giants length this weekend. 

"It certainly gives us a little bit more confidence to know that that version of Sammy may be in there, because that was an excellent version," Kapler said. "[Long] was throwing really hard, moving fast down the mound, working at a very crisp pace, executing three pitches for strikes, two [above-average] secondary weapons, and a lot of confidence. And now he's built up for four innings, so that's a good thing and it provides a little bit of a boost of encouragement for us."

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