Last week, when the San Francisco Giants visited the Detroit Tigers, Logan Webb wasn’t at his sharpest. He gave up five hits and three walks in just 4.2 innings, and while he had a chance to escape relatively unscathed, he was done in by one unfortunate inning.
Here’s what I wrote about it at the time:
It started with a one-out single that had an expected batting average of .250. It moved on to a double with an expected batting average of .070. Webb walked the bases loaded, then dug deep for a one-out strikeout, keeping the game scoreless. Here came the magic that has come to define the team’s most compelling player over the last two years.
Needing just one out, Webb hung an 0-2 slider over the plate to Victor Reyes, who hit it squarely at Brandon Crawford. It took an intense hop. The kind of hop that, when converted into an out, makes you wonder how professional baseball players actually do their job.
Crawford has spent the better part of the last decade making us wonder that. He spent the better part of last year making us wonder that.
And this one kicked off his glove. It wasn’t an error, or even a bad play. But it was the absence of the play that we’re used to seeing, and that’s been the defining characteristic of this Giants season.
Webb wouldn’t make it out of the inning, and the Tigers hung a six-spot, with all the runs being charged to the team’s young star.
Some funny news happened on Tuesday. Shortly before Webb took the mound against the San Diego Padres, it was announced that, a week later, MLB had changed the ruling on Crawford’s defensive play to an error, wiping the “earned” off of all six runs that Webb allowed.
Logan Webb got some good news today. There was a two-out liner up the middle last week in Detroit that was ruled a single when it happened, but was changed to an error by MLB. That makes all six runs in that game unearned, lowering Webb's ERA from 3.33 to 2.99.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) August 31, 2022
The Giants season has been one long book of morbid, satirical poetry, so you can guess where this is going.
Against a significantly better Padres offense on Tuesday, Webb was substantially better. He didn’t allow a baserunner in the first inning. The only baserunner he allowed in the second was on an error by catcher Austin Wynns. He gave up a lone infield single in the third, but kept the run off the board despite an error by Crawford. He worked around a little trouble to get through the fourth. He didn’t allow a baserunner in the fifth.
And then came the sixth inning. After two straight strikeouts — including one against Juan Soto — Webb faced Giant killer Manny Machado with two outs and the bases empty. He got Machado to hit one in Crawford’s vicinity, with an expected batting average of .100.
It wasn’t an easy play, and Crawford compounded it by throwing the ball into the Padres dugout. Machado was awarded an infield single, and Crawford a second error.
The next batter, Josh Bell, hit a lazy bloop that happened to find a magical patch of grass, scoring a run.
This man is truly our new Matt Cain. He gave up just five baserunners in 5.2 innings, and two of them were infield singles. He struck out seven batters. He gave up no earned runs.
And he was handed a loss on the scorecard, marking the fourth such time he’s taken an L in a game this year where he’s allowed one or fewer earned runs.
(By the way, if we want to talk about things other than the Giants losing yet again, this entire article has been leading towards the thesis statement that both errors and pitcher records are useless drivel).
It seems we’ve reached the point in the season where everyone adjacent to the Giants has accepted their fate. In the second inning — the second inning — Evan Longoria hit a ball to deep right field that Soto caught. It wasn’t even a highlight catch, just a good one.
The broadcast booth took it as an opportunity to roll out the game’s “T-Mobile Coverage Cam” play, given to a great defensive showing in any given game. Usually by the Giants, because, you know, it’s a Giants broadcast. But no. Rather than wait until the game was nearly over to determine if the Giants could do anything noteworthy on defense, NBC Sports Bay Area decided to write the obituary in the second inning.
And you know what? The Giants had four errors. So it was a pro move.
The ultimate Caining would have occurred if the Giants lost 1-0 but, just as they did on Monday, they instead decided to dig a bigger hole before erasing much of it and making you wonder what might have been had they been less invested in hole-digging.
Tyler Rogers gave up a massive home run to Trent Grisham as part of a three-run seventh inning for the Padres, running their lead to 4-0.
That apparently activated the Giants. They mustered their own funny rally in the eighth (single, error, infield single), putting a run on the board. A Wilmer Flores walk with two outs in the ninth set the stage for Joc Pederson to hit the most majestic two-run home run you’ll see, which was hard to enjoy since you knew the Giants needed three.
And then Longoria, with a chance to tie the game, hit a foul pop up to Brandon Drury, who had already dropped two foul pop ups. Just to dare him. Just to taunt him.
He caught it. The Giants lost 4-3. Austin Slater dislocated his pinkie just to feel something.
Don’t try that at home.