Logan Webb is not the ace of the San Francisco Giants staff, but he might just be the ace of the Giants staff at this particular moment.
Webb has now made 10 straight starts without allowing more than two runs, and he’s given up one or fewer earned runs in eight of those 10 starts. Right now he is not particularly hittable ... except when he’s the one wearing the hard hat and standing in the batter’s box.
The young righty was dominant on the mound on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies, but was also one of the Giants most impactful offensive players.
In the second inning, Alex Dickerson came up to bat with one on, two outs, and Webb on deck. Yes, Dickerson was batting eighth, a combination of the Giants admittance that he is not the same hitter he was in 2019 and 2020, and the ludicrous firepower of this offense.
One understated thing that I love about a baseball game that doesn’t have a designated hitter is the differing ways in which pitchers will approach the penultimate batter in the lineup. In this case, with a scoreless game and a chance to start the third inning facing a pitcher, Germán Márquez decided it was worth going straight at Dickerson.
Dickerson went straight back at him. Well, not literally, thankfully. Those plays are scary.
If it feels like a stretch to give Webb credit for standing in the batter’s box with a reputation of not being able to hit the ball, well ... it is. But shut up, because we’re not done here.
Webb had perhaps the biggest swing of the day. In the fourth inning, with one run already scored on a Curt Casali double, Webb took the batter’s box with the bases loaded and one out.
And my goodness he came so close to hitting a grand slam. So freaking close.
But a two-run single is still pretty damn nice.
Logan Webb missed a grand slam by INCHES pic.twitter.com/Y4wGOmOzDR— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) August 13, 2021
You know what to say next. It’s a four-word phrase. It starts with a word I try to avoid using in articles. In ends with the words “the designated hitter.”
Yeah, that one.
But while I am a staunch advocate for pitcher’s hitting, there’s a reason that hitters are hitters, and that’s because they hit better than pitchers. So the next batter, LaMonte Wade Jr., gave Webb some pointers on how to get the ball to clear the fence.
Just like that it was a six-run inning, and a 7-0 lead. It would stay a 7-0 lead until the gulls had pecked at the last garlic fries and the final ferry had departed.
Webb was as brilliant on the mound as he was in the box, allowing just six baserunners (three hits, two walks, one hit batter) in six innings while striking out eight. He threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 21 batters he faced, and lowered his ERA to the 2s (2.96).
Here’s his line for his last 10 starts: 53 innings, 35 hits, 12 walks, 9 earned runs, 57 strikeouts.
The bullpen was equally good, albeit in a low-leverage situation. Jay Jackson struck out two in a perfect inning and Camilo Doval made his first appearance since getting recalled and put on a masterclass, with four strikeouts to just one baserunner in two innings, with 18 of his 23 pitches finding the strike zone and a staggering eight whiffs in that short time. His potential is absurd.
But most importantly, the Giants won and the Los Angeles Dodgers lost. Excluding the games they’ve played against each other, it was the first time the Giants have won and the Dodgers have lost on the same day since July 9.
It pushed the lead in the NL West to five games, the largest it’s been all year.
They seem hell bent on doing this thing. And I support them.