The best performance of Logan Webb's rookie season for the Giants came in his final road start. Webb threw six innings against the Braves, allowing one run on two hits and striking out seven. Apparently the programmers at PlayStation were paying attention.
Webb has now pitched twice in our weekly simulations, both times against the Braves. The digital version of Webb pitched pretty well the first time, striking out five and giving up three runs in a game the PlayStation Giants won 7-4. We won't spoil anything, but Webb starts tonight's game -- airing at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area with Kruk and Kuip on the call -- and has another nice night.
In real life, Webb's career is such a small sample size that you can't yet use Mike Krukow's "ownage is ownage" tag against anyone. But the four guys he was preparing to join in the rotation have plenty of experience, and all of them have a team that they look at the same way PlayStation Logan Webb looks at the PlayStation Braves.
Cueto is preparing for what will be his fifth season in San Francisco, but the early years of his career were spent in Cincinnati, and he absolutely feasted on the Pirates. Cueto has faced Pittsburgh 31 times, throwing 202 2/3 innings. That's the equivalent of a full season, and it's one worthy of a Cy Young Award. Cueto is 21-4 against the Pirates with a 2.13 ERA.
There's an important caveat here, though, as the Pirates got their revenge for all that ownage in the 2013 postseason. Cueto started the Wild Card Game for the Reds and lasted just 10 outs at PNC Park. There's a somewhat famous moment in Pittsburgh where Cueto dropped a ball during that game and then allowed a homer to Russell Martin.
Still, he has the upper hand overall.
Cueto actually has a lower ERA against another NL team but has only faced them six times. Before signing with the Giants for $130 million, Cueto had a 2.08 ERA in six starts against his future employer.
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The Shark has played in both Central divisions and both West divisions, but apparently nothing fires him up more than seeing an American League East team. In four career games against the Blue Jays, Samardzija has allowed just three earned runs in 28 1/3 innings.
Like Cueto, he also has done well against teams he would later join. Samardzija has a 2.16 ERA in eight appearances against the White Sox, who traded for him in 2014 in a deal that cost them future MVP candidate Marcus Semien. He had a 3.04 ERA in eight appearances against the Giants before joining them the same offseason as Cueto.
It's been a rocky road at times for Gausman, but the Giants were thrilled to get him on a one-year deal in December and he opened some eyes this spring. Mostly pitching in the American League East, Gausman has faced the Yankees more than anyone. While his 3.77 ERA in 24 appearances doesn't scream "ownage," you have to take into account the fact that the Yankees have recently wiped the floor with the Orioles.
No, seriously, the Yankees went 17-2 against the Orioles last year. They averaged almost eight runs per game and hit three homers a game.
Gausman's best full season in Baltimore was 2016, and he went 3-1 with a 1.10 ERA in six starts against New York that season as the Orioles won the season series. The Yankees got their revenge the next year, knocking him around a few times, but overall Gausman has pitched well against the team that always has one of the American League's most fearsome lineups.
There's an interesting thing about Smyly's career splits. He has a 4.40 ERA against teams with a losing record but a 3.79 ERA against winning teams. Perhaps he'll feel right at home going into Dodger Stadium.
Smyly's career has been so disjointed at times, with injuries derailing his progress and time spent in the bullpen, that he doesn't have a clear choice here. He hasn't yet made double-digit starts against any franchise, but he has fared well against the Yankees (1.85 ERA in nine appearances), Red Sox (11 appearances, 2.35 ERA) and Blue Jays (11 appearances, 2.72 ERA)
Like the other veteran starters in the rotation, Smyly pitched well when Giants' eyes were watching. He has faced his current team twice, allowing four earned runs in 12 2/3 innings.