July 5, 2022

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Webb's gem points to Giants' shutdown rotation

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SAN FRANCISCO — A pair of dominant starts by Logan Webb bookended the Giants’ first homestand of the season, with the 25-year-old right-hander firing a career-high eight innings to lead San Francisco to a series-clinching 2-1 victory over the Padres on Wednesday afternoon at Oracle Park.

Webb allowed only one run on four hits, while becoming the first Major League starter to work into the eighth this year. The Rocklin, Calif., native struck out seven and walked none in the 96-pitch gem, outdueling his offseason workout buddy Sean Manaea, who gave up two runs over six innings in his second start for San Diego. 

“Logan definitely held up his end of the bargain, particularly given that that’s a really high-quality pitching matchup,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “He was super efficient. It was very tempting to even think about the ninth inning there, but there was some discipline because obviously we’re still sort of building him up. I think at this point he’s ready for a full workload.” 

Camilo Doval created some late drama after replacing Webb to start the ninth, allowing the Padres to load the bases with two outs on a single, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Still, the 24-year-old flamethrower managed to strike out pinch-hitter Matt Beaty to end the game and pick up his first save of the year.

“I think what we’re still seeing with Camilo is a little bit of an inconsistency with how long he takes to deliver the baseball,” Kapler said. “Sometimes it’s a high leg lift. Sometimes it’s a very, very quick slide step. We’re trying to find the sweet spot for him — something that he can repeat over and over. I think once we make that tweak, it’s going to be really, really good. But it has to be within his comfort level.”

Webb has now gone 24 consecutive starts dating back to last year (including the postseason) without taking a loss, a franchise record. He has allowed only two runs over 14 innings in his first two outings of 2022, emerging as the new tone-setter of the Giants’ talented starting rotation, which includes Carlos Rodón, Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood and Alex Cobb.

“We’ve got a special group, and we know that,” Webb said. “That’s the first thing Cobb said to me when I walked in. He said, ‘We’re going to pitch like this all year.’ We all believe that.”

San Francisco has had most of its starters on strict pitch counts to ease them into the regular season following the shortened spring, but Webb lobbied pitching coach Andrew Bailey to let him pitch deep into the game on Wednesday.

“I kind of told Bailes before, ‘Hey, if I’m kind of cruising, let me pitch the eighth,’” Webb said. “Because I know I hadn’t finished eight, so I wanted to do that.”

Webb used to struggle to consistently give the Giants length out of the rotation earlier in his career, but he took off last year when he learned to trust his stuff and attack hitters. The Padres scored their lone run in the first inning, when Manny Machado doubled and scored on Jake Cronenworth’s RBI triple, which sailed over the head of rookie Heliot Ramos in right field.

The Giants countered in the second, when Luke Williams delivered a two-out, two-run double off Manaea, who spun seven no-hit innings in his Padres debut Friday. Webb, who trains with Manaea at Push Performance in Tempe, Ariz., over the offseason, said he reached out to compliment the former A’s southpaw after his first start and wished him luck ahead of their matchup on Wednesday.

“I’ve actually gotten to know Sean really well because we work out together,” Webb said. “I get to watch bullpens and see how he does. It’s pretty gross. It was fun battling with him today.”

The Giants have won each of Webb’s last 15 regular-season home starts, the longest active streak in the Majors. With a 4-2 homestand in the books, San Francisco will now embark on its first road trip of the year, a four-city, 11-game swing through Cleveland, New York, Washington and Milwaukee.

While it’s too early to draw many conclusions about the 2022 Giants, Kapler said he’s confident the starting rotation will continue to serve as a stabilizing force for the club this year.

“I think what we’re starting to understand is that if we have a healthy group of five starting pitchers, those five guys are going to be able to match up with any around the league,” Kapler said. “It doesn’t matter where you are in the rotation, you have a starting pitcher that can shut down the opposition.”

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