Johnny Cueto

Which MLB team every Giants pitcher tends to dominate most in career

Which MLB team every Giants pitcher tends to dominate most in career

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. 

Johnny Cueto

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. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Jeff Samardzija

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. 

Kevin Gausman

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. 

[RELATED: Catcher Tyler Heineman shows off unique skill to teammates]

Drew Smyly

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. 

How Bryce Harper's idea could get Giants, A's stars into 2021 Olympics

usatsi_9963212.jpg
USATSI

How Bryce Harper's idea could get Giants, A's stars into 2021 Olympics

There might not be a bigger lightning rod in all of MLB than Bryce Harper. There were plenty of Giants fans last offseason who -- having just watched two losing seasons of a team with no power, no outfield production and very little star power -- were opposed to the chase for Harper, and many still feel San Franicsco was lucky to miss out. 

That's a wild take, but no matter how you feel about Harper, you can't deny he is one of the few Major Leaguers who has managed to become a superstar at a time when the sport is struggling to promote its best players. Commissioner Rob Manfred should listen when Harper speaks about growing the game, and on Barstool Sports' Starting 9 podcast, Harper had a lot to say about the topic. 

Harper spoke out against the asinine blackout policy and then said MLB should allow big leaguers to represent their countries in the Olympics next summer. He said the sport should "shock the world" and embrace the Olympic tournament, noting how cool it would be to represent the United States and watch matchups like Mike Trout versus Japanese teammate Shohei Ohtani. 

"It's such a travesty to me," Harper said. "The 2020 Olympics in Japan, in Tokyo, and you're not sending big-league guys? Are you kidding me? You want to grow the game as much as possible and you're not going to let us play in the Olympics because you don't want to cut out on money for a two-week period? Okay, that's dumb."

He's spot-on about finding new fans, as last Sunday's Dream Team-centric episode of "The Last Dance" showed, but it's unlikely to happen. MLB always has been unwilling to shut down over the summer for the Olympics, preferring to focus on the World Baseball Classic. 

But ... what if Manfred listened to Harper?

We already have some idea of what international rosters could look like from a Bay Area perspective because a dozen Giants and A's participated in the last WBC. But a lot has changed since then, so here's a rundown of guys who could participate in the 2021 Olympics if Harper made the rules ... 

Matt Chapman (USA): One of the most underrated players in the game, he would have a hard time beating Nolan Arenado out for the starting job, but there's no doubt he would be on the team. 

Marcus Semien (USA): Brandon Crawford was the shortstop for Team USA in the last WBC and won a gold medal, but Semien is the one coming off a top-three finish in MVP voting. With Alex Bregman, Trevor Story, Trea Turner and others also in the mix, it would be hard for Crawford to get another international shot. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Buster Posey (USA): J.T. Realmuto would be the starter, but you can easily make the case for Posey to be on this team, especially if three catchers make the trip. Guys like Tom Murphy and James McCann were more productive in 2019 and Will Smith is breaking through, but it's the Olympics and there's an element of star power here. Posey remains one of the game's most recognizable players. 

Johnny Cueto (Dominican Republic): The Dominican team hasn't qualified for the Olympics since 1992, but a roster consisting of MLB players would be absolutely loaded. Cueto was supposed to be the ace for his country in the 2017 WBC but had to pull out because of a family emergency. 

Matt Olson (United States): You know Pete Alonso is making the trip, and Olson faces a loaded field of American first basemen -- Max Muncy, Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, etc. But he gets better and better every year, so by this time in 2021 he might be an obvious choice. 

Dereck Rodriguez (Puerto Rico): He was on the roster for the WBC team four years ago and has only gotten better since then. Puerto Rico always has a solid roster, but Heliot Ramos would be eligible if they need outfield depth. 

Pablo Sandoval, Wilmer Flores (Venezuela): Venezuela has never played baseball in the Olympics, but the national team was attempting to qualify for the postponed 2020 tournament. Sandoval is one of the country's most popular players. Flores would be a strong option as a utility infielder. 

Yasiel Puig (Cuba): Kidding! Kidding! Just making sure you're still paying attention. By the way, Cuba has won three of the five Olympic baseball gold medals. 

[RELATED: This Harper concern kept him from Giants in free agency]

Liam Hendriks (Australia): Did you know that the Australians currently are ranked sixth in the world by the World Baseball Softball Confederation? Fun fact. Hendriks would be their closer. 

Jesus Luzardo (Venezuela): He was born in Peru and raised in Florida, and he has the talent to be on just about any country's staff in 2021. But Luzardo's family is mostly Venezuelan, and that would seem to be his best bet for international play. Teammate Yusmeiro Petit also has Venezuelan roots. 

Sean Manaea (United States): Team USA's pitching staff is always loaded, but Manaea certainly showed enough last year that he would have a strong case. 

Ramon Laureano (Dominican Republic): He would join a loaded group that includes countrymen Juan Soto and Ketel Marte, which brings us to the rest of the Bay Area outfielders. Sure, Mike Yastrzemski and Mark Canha are good ... but have you seen what Team USA's outfield could look like? 

They could take the field with Mike Trout in center, Christian Yelich in left and Cody Bellinger in right. Throw in Mookie Betts and Harper might have a hard time just finding at-bats, but that doesn't at all take away from the fact that his idea is a fun one, and Major League Baseball really should take it seriously. 

Could Bryce Harper's idea get Bay Area stars into Olympics

usatsi_9963212.jpg
USATSI

Could Bryce Harper's idea get Bay Area stars into Olympics

There might not be a bigger lightning rod in the game than Bryce Harper. There were plenty of Giants fans last offseason who -- having just watched two losing seasons of a team with no power, no outfield production and very little star power -- were opposed to the chase for Harper, and many still feel the Giants were lucky to miss out. 

That's a wild take, but no matter how you feel about Harper, you can't deny he is one of the few Major Leaguers who has managed to become a superstar at a time when the sport is struggling to promote its best players. Commissioner Rob Manfred should listen when Harper speaks about growing the game, and on the Starting 9 podcast by Barstool Sports, Harper had a lot to say about the topic. 

Harper spoke out against the asinine blackout policy and then said MLB should allow big leaguers to represent their countries in the Olympics next summer. He said the sport should "shock the world" and embrace the Olympic tournament, noting how cool it would be to represent the United States and watch matchups like Mike Trout versus Japanese teammate Shohei Ohtani. 

"It's such a travesty to me," Harper said. "The 2020 Olympics in Japan, in Tokyo, and you're not sending big league guys? Are you kidding me? You want to grow the game as much as possible and you're not going to let us play in the Olympics because you don't want to cut out on money for a two-week period? Okay, that's dumb."

He's spot-on about finding new fans, as last Sunday's Dream Team-centric episode of "The Last Dance" showed, but it's unlikely to happen. MLB has always been unwilling to shut down over the summer for the Olympics, preferring to focus on the World Baseball Classic. 

But ... what if Manfred listened to Harper?

We already have some idea of what international rosters could look like from a Bay Area perspective because a dozen Giants and A's participated in the last WBC. But a lot has changed since then, so here's a rundown of guys who could participate in the 2021 Olympics if Harper made the rules ... 

Matt Chapman (USA): One of the most underrated players in the game, he would have a hard time beating Nolan Arenado out for the starting job, but there's no doubt he would be on the team. 

Marcus Semien (USA): Brandon Crawford was the shortstop for Team USA in the last WBC and won a gold medal, but Semien is the one coming off a top three finish in MVP voting. With Alex Bregman, Trevor Story, Trea Turner and others also in the mix, it would be hard for Crawford to get another international shot. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Buster Posey (USA): J.T. Realmuto would be the starter, but you can easily make the case for Posey to be on this team, especially if three catchers make the trip. Guys like Tom Murphy and James McCann were more productive in 2019 and Will Smith is breaking through, but it's the Olympics and there's an element of star power here. Posey remains one of the game's most recognizable players. 

Johnny Cueto (Dominican Republic): The Dominican team hasn't qualified for the Olympics since 1992, but a roster consisting of MLB players would be absolutely loaded. Cueto was supposed to be the ace for his country in the 2017 WBC but had to pull out because of a family emergency. 

Matt Olson (United States): You know Pete Alonso is making the trip, and Olson faces a loaded field of American first basemen -- Max Muncy, Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, etc. But he gets better and better every year, so by this time in 2021 he might be an obvious choice. 

Dereck Rodriguez (Puerto Rico): He was on the roster for the WBC team four years ago and has only gotten better since then. Puerto Rico always has a solid roster, but Heliot Ramos would be eligible if they need outfield depth. 

Pablo Sandoval, Wilmer Flores (Venezuela): Venezuela has never played baseball in the Olympics, but the national team was attempting to qualify for the postponed 2020 tournament. Sandoval is one of the country's most popular players. Flores would be a strong option as a utility infielder. 

Yasiel Puig (Cuba): Kidding! Kidding! Just making sure you're still paying attention. By the way, Cuba has won three of the five Olympic baseball gold medals. 

[RELATED: Why Bryce Harper was concerned about Giants roster]

Liam Hendriks (Australia): Did you know that the Australians are currently ranked sixth in the world by the World Baseball Softball Confederation? Fun fact. Hendriks would be their closer. 

Jesus Luzardo (Venezuela): He was born in Peru and raised in Florida, and he has the talent to be on just about any country's staff in 2021. But Luzardo's family is mostly Venezuelan, and that would seem to be his best bet for international play. Teammate Yusmeiro Petit also has Venezuelan roots. 

Sean Manaea (United States): Team USA's pitching staff is always loaded, but Manaea certainly showed enough last year that he would have a strong case. 

Ramon Laureano (Dominican Republic): He would join a loaded group that includes countrymen Juan Soto and Ketel Marte, which brings us to the rest of the Bay Area outfielders. Sure, Mike Yastrzemski and Mark Canha are good ... but have you seen what Team USA's outfield could look like? 

They could take the field with Mike Trout in center, Christian Yelich in left, and Cody Bellinger in right. Throw in Mookie Betts and Harper might have a hard time just finding at-bats, but that doesn't at all take away from the fact that his idea is a fun one, and Major League Baseball really should take it seriously.