Culture

Logan Webb: Examining the issues behind SF Giants ace’s recent stumbles


Logan Webb and the San Francisco Giants are on a fact-finding mission.

Webb, in a recent interview with the Bay Area News Group, was hesitant to divulge many details.

“We’re finding some good stuff,” said Webb, who gets the ball Friday to open the Giants’ series in St. Louis. “I kind of want to keep that in between us.”

His past four starts have looked nothing like his final 20 of last season. Or his first two this year. Or spring training, when he looked ready to build on his magnificent second half of last season.

Webb’s numbers in 22 regular-season starts from May 11 of last season through April 13 this year: 130⅓ innings, 101 hits, 135 strikeouts, 2.28 ERA. His past four: 21⅓ innings, 32 hits, 17 strikeouts, 5.48 ERA.

“I think he’s responded well, particularly mentally,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “He hasn’t felt at his best physically for a portion of the season, but he understands it’s a great opportunity to just compete. Also, it’s a good opportunity for our coaching staff to help him feel physically strong.”

That is what Webb and pitching coach Andrew Bailey and several others inside the Giants have been tasked with discovering: what has changed? Is this a blip over the course of 162 games or a sign the league has wised up to Webb’s ways? And how can they fix it?

The workload: One thing on people’s minds when the lockout lifted and players reported for spring training was how the condensed camp would impact pitchers’ ability to stretch out their arms. By all accounts, those concerns have played out during the first month of this season, with more players landing on the injured list and, still, few pitchers completing six or more innings.

But Webb seemed as prepared as any to counter that challenge, drawing plaudits for arriving at camp with multiple bullpen sessions under his belt. He was the first Giants pitcher to take down multiple innings in the spring, then translated that to the regular season with brilliant outings in his first two starts.

Webb twirled six innings on Opening Day, then became the first pitcher in baseball to complete eight innings in his next start. He didn’t allow more than a run in either start. By all indications, the pitcher Webb was for the second half of last season was the same one the Giants would get in his first full season leading the staff.

But if those early outings looked good, they possibly had a detrimental effect.

Webb admits, the workload caught up to him after his first two starts.

“The eight innings and the long road trip, I was a little tired after that,” he said, noting that the fatigue could be playing a part in changes to his mechanics from last season that Bailey and others have been scouring video to identify.

Webb’s dominance during the pennant race and into the playoffs last season made it easy to forget he had never spent a full season on a big league pitching staff. It was also easy …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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