'A-plus stuff': Webb continues dominant run

August 18th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- Revitalized veterans have been key to the Giants’ success this year, but so has the maturation of the team’s youngest player.

Burgeoning star extended his recent run of dominance with another superb start on Tuesday night, allowing only two runs over a career-high 7 1/3 innings to lead the Giants to a 3-2 win over the Mets at Oracle Park.

Webb breezed through seven scoreless innings before his shutout bid was spoiled by Pete Alonso, who crushed a two-run shot to left field to cut the Giants’ lead to 3-2 with one out in the eighth. Manager Gabe Kapler opted to lift Webb in favor of left-hander Tony Watson, who retired Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis to end the inning.

“I’m a little frustrated about that, but that was a great swing,” Webb said. “I felt like I was getting more into a groove towards the end. A couple pitches later, I’m out of the game. That kind of stunk, but I was more mad because of the pitch I threw. I knew we were going to close it out with our guys in the 'pen.”

With closer Jake McGee and setup man Tyler Rogers unavailable after working in back-to-back games, lefty Jarlín García and righty Dominic Leone combined to record the final three outs and shut the door for the Giants, who have now won seven consecutive series to improve to 78-42, the best record in baseball.

Webb departed after throwing 83 pitches, holding the Mets to seven hits while striking out eight and walking one. The 24-year-old is now 6-0 with a 1.64 ERA over his last 11 outings, racking up 65 strikeouts over 60 1/3 innings and holding opposing batters to a .194 clip in that span. The Giants have gone 10-1 over those contests, underscoring their growing confidence in Webb and his ability to develop into a frontline starter in his third season.

“I don’t think there’s any denying that he’s been among the league’s best starters over the last calendar month,” Kapler said. “Since he came off the IL, he’s gotten better and better. Today was his most efficient outing to date. Efficiency is the thing that gives you hope that he can keep doing this, because we all know that the movement of the stuff is there. It’s really just the pounding of the strike zone.”

The Giants took a 2-0 lead two batters into the game against Mets right-hander Marcus Stroman, who entered Tuesday with a 2.79 ERA. LaMonte Wade Jr. led off with a single, and Tommy La Stella blasted Stroman’s eighth pitch of the night, a misplaced cutter, 415 feet out to right-center field for his second home run of the year.

“It seemed like we were getting better swings off Stroman earlier in the game,” Kapler said. “As the game wore on, he found a rhythm and was really keeping us off balance and mixing his pitches well. But certainly, that swing from La Stella was huge.”

Evan Longoria later added a solo shot to left off Stroman to extend the Giants’ lead to 3-0 in the seventh. It was Longoria’s 10th home run of the year and his first since returning from the injured list on Saturday, making him the ninth Giant to reach double-digits this year.

La Stella and Longoria’s homers were enough to back Webb, whose emergence helps explain the Giants’ decision not to pursue another starter before the Trade Deadline. Had the Giants brought in outside help, Webb probably would have been pushed to the bullpen due to his lack of seniority. San Francisco opted to instead swing a deal for former Cubs star Kris Bryant, giving Webb an opportunity to show that he can be a dependable arm down the stretch.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen at the Deadline,” Webb said. “I’ve said this before. ... No matter what position they put me in, whether it’s bullpen or a starter, I was excited to be a part of it. When they didn’t, it showed a little bit of confidence in me that I could get it done. I just want to prove those guys right.”

Thanks in large part to his increased reliance on his sinker, Webb entered Tuesday with a career-high 60.2% ground ball percentage, a trend that continued against the Mets. Webb recorded 21 of his 22 outs via strikeout or groundout, with the only out in the air coming on Brandon Nimmo’s lineout to end the fifth.

“Logan threw the ball really well,” Alonso said. “He executed so many pitches. He had his A-plus stuff today. He’s one of their better arms, and he absolutely came with it today.”