Webb, Bochy, Giants head home on a high note

September 22nd, 2019

ATLANTA -- It’s become one of the most frequently asked questions for Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

“Aren’t you tired of traveling?”

The 81-game road schedule can take a toll on players and coaches alike over the course of a grinding season, but in truth, Bochy has enjoyed the trips, savoring the opportunities to spend time with his club on flights and in various cities across the country.

“It’s one of my favorite parts of the game,” said Bochy, who intends to retire at the end of the season. “That’s a big part of the game I’ll miss.”

The Giants made Bochy’s final flight home a happy one, riding a strong start from rookie to a 4-1 victory over the Braves in their final road game of the year on Sunday afternoon at SunTrust Park.

Webb held the National League East champions to one run over a career-high six innings to record his first quality start and earn his first win since his Major League debut on Aug. 17. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed just two hits, walked two and struck out seven in his seventh career start for the Giants.

“I felt like today I finally was able to kind of put it all together,” said Webb, who lowered his ERA to 5.61 on the season. “I’ve got a lot of work to do, but I really felt like today there was a lot more confidence out there and command of my pitches.”

After dropping the first two games to the Braves by a combined score of 14-1, the Giants took their first lead of the series by scoring three runs off veteran left-hander Dallas Keuchel on RBI doubles from and in the sixth.

The Braves cut the deficit to two after Adeiny Hechavarría tripled and scored in the bottom half of the inning, but Longoria added an RBI single in the seventh to extend the Giants’ lead to 4-1.

Sunday’s win secured a 3-3 road trip to Boston and Atlanta for the Giants, who ended their 2019 road slate with a 42-39 record. It marked a major improvement from last year, when they went 31-50, the third-worst road record in the NL.

“It’s good when you feel like the team doesn’t have a fear of going and playing on the road,” Longoria said. “You feel like you can go on the road and play well. But you have to play well in your home ballpark.”

The Giants are only 33-42 at Oracle Park this season, though they’ll have a chance to better that mark over their last homestand of the season against the Rockies and Dodgers. The Giants will have to win each of their final six games to finish with a .500 record and avoid a third consecutive losing season.

“I think the guys have done a nice job on the road, focusing and trying to win a ballgame,” Bochy said before Sunday's game. “I think the hitters overall have been more consistent on the road. It’s the home record, that’s the one that hurt us this year.”

Webb is lined up to make his final start of the year this weekend against the Dodgers, giving him one last chance to leave an impression on the Giants’ front office as they begin to weigh their rotation options for 2020.

“I think all the young guys, that’s what we hope to do when we come up here,” Webb said. “Obviously, do well for now, but also set ourselves up for the future as well. It’s definitely a good learning experience for all of us. I think we’re all just excited to show what we can do.”