'It's annoying': Giants' rivalry with Dodgers one-sided in '22

Webb struggles in opener but still has goals as season winds down

September 17th, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO -- One year ago, the Giants and Dodgers were neck and neck in the standings as they entered the home stretch of an epic race for the National League West title. That battle ended up going down to the final day of the regular season, with the Giants needing a franchise-record 107 wins to edge the Dodgers for the division crown.

The rivalry doesn’t have nearly the same stakes this September.

The Dodgers arrived at Oracle Park on Friday night having already clinched the NL West title with three weeks left to go in the regular season. The Giants, meanwhile, are under .500 and on track to miss the playoffs entirely. The gap between them only continued to widen as San Francisco was shut out, 5-0, in the first game of the final series between the two clubs this season.

The Giants were held hitless through the first five innings by Dodgers right-hander Dustin May, who was held to 69 pitches in his fifth start since coming back from Tommy John surgery. Luis González finally broke up the combined no-hit bid by beating out a dribbler off lefty Alex Vesia with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.

David Villar recorded San Francisco’s only other hit, a two-out single off Caleb Ferguson in the seventh. The two hits matched a season-low for the Giants, who are 4-13 against the Dodgers this season and have been outscored by an 88-50 margin. The Giants are now 30 1/2 games out of first place, tying their largest deficit of the year.

“I think they’ve been the better baseball team all year,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “From a perspective of the distance between us in the standings, it’s disappointing. It’s annoying, but it’s sort of irrelevant. If you’re not winning the division and you’re not in the playoffs, there’s plenty to be disappointed [about] right there. You don’t have to layer on anything related to an exact number of games.”

, who delivered two masterful starts against the Dodgers in last fall’s thrilling NL Division Series, wasn’t at his best Friday, needing 90 pitches to get through four innings in his shortest appearance since his third outing of the season on April 19.

The 25-year-old right-hander gave up four runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out two, with the bulk of the damage coming on a trio of RBI singles from Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger and Trea Turner in a 36-pitch fourth.

“I feel like my stuff was actually pretty decent today,” said Webb, who had logged a 1.88 ERA over his previous seven starts. “I feel like I was just missing, and they were taking it. When I did leave something over the plate, they were taking advantage of it. A lineup with nine All-Stars is going to do that. I didn’t do a good job in those situations.”

Kapler said he thought Webb didn’t have the optimal movement profile with his changeup, describing it as “a little bit east-west” rather than “north-south,” and also noted that the Giants’ pitching staff as a whole could have done a better job of controlling the running game. The Dodgers stole a season-high four bases, three of which came with Webb on the mound.

“There are some catchers that can really sort of neutralize somebody else’s running game, but pitchers are largely responsible for controlling the running game,” Kapler said. “Varying their looks, throwing over from time to time. Sometimes that comes from the bench, too. Not trying to focus blame anywhere. We just have to do a better job as a club.”

All told, Webb went 1-2 with a 5.57 ERA over four starts against the Dodgers in 2022 after going 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA over five starts against them last year (including the postseason).

“I wish I could face them again, just because I like competing against the best,” Webb said. “I just didn’t execute very well. … I feel like I’ve done well against them before, so it’s not like I can’t ever do it again. It just wasn’t my night.”

While he won’t get another crack against the Dodgers until next season, Webb still has a few other things he’d like to accomplish this year, most notably reaching 200 innings for the first time in his career. He’s already set a career-high with 182 innings over 30 starts and has no intention of slowing down as the season begins to wind down.

“Personally, I’d like to get to 200 innings,” Webb said. “I think as a starter, that’s something that you always strive to do. I didn’t give my best case at trying to get to that tonight, but it would be a cool accomplishment. The main thing is just finishing healthy and being able to say I made all my starts.”