By Doug Bruzzone
Special to S.F. Examiner
ORACLE PARK — Logan Webb held the best offense in the National League to just two runs in six innings, but the Giants offense came up short again in San Francisco’s 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Webb, coming off an impressive start against the Atlanta Braves, backed it up on Saturday afternoon, solidifying himself as a top candidate for one of the 2020 Giants’ multiple rotation openings. Against a left-handed-heavy Los Angeles lineup which battered righties Johnny Cueto and Shaun Anderson a night before, Webb was dominant.
“I feel like I executed for the most part,” Webb said after the game. “A couple things, obviously, I’d like to take back, but overall I felt pretty good.”
The hard-throwing 22-year-old is one of the young starters who the Giants are hoping will seize a rotation spot next year. He lived up to his top-prospect billing for the second straight start. In his six innings of work, he struck out five, only walked one and gave up six hits against a powerful Dodgers lineup.
“I thought he ended [the year] really well,” Bruce Bochy said. “You look at the two teams he faced and how he pitched. Great job today. Quality start. Good fastball, good location, and he had the good off speed going today too. Backed it up from his last start. As he goes into the offseason, he’s gonna feel pretty good about how he finished up.”
Webb has been working on some of the mental aspects of the game over his last couple starts, and he credits that work for his success. “Slowing the game down, letting the game come to me, not get on the mound, grabbing the ball, and throwing. Just take a breath and know what you’re gonna do, then do it.” He said that Jeff Samardzija helped him with that a lot, as well as former Giants Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain.
The game was quiet for the first four innings, with Webb and Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu trading zeroes until Ryu himself singling through the left side to drive in Gavin Lux. Webb countered in the bottom of the inning with his own single — his first career hit — but unlike Ryu, he didn’t have a man in scoring position, so the Giants came away emptyhanded.
Webb would then give up a solo home run to Max Muncy in the top of the sixth for the second Los Angeles run.
A day after struggling to plate runners in scoring position, the Giant solved that problem by getting very few runners into scoring position in the first place. Only three Giants reached second all game: Mauricio Dubon in the fourth, Joey Rickard in the fifth and Evan Longoria in the ninth. All three were stranded.
The Giants managed to get two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, but Stephen Vogt, Jaylin Davis and Alex Dickerson struck out to end the game.
It was perhaps unsurprising that the Giants struggled against Ryu, who has always pitched tough against San Francisco, and, who will win the NL’s ERA title with a 2.32 mark. For all of Bruce Bochy’s efforts in starting all right-handed hitters against the lefty, the Giants were still unable to get anything going offensively.
“We faced a very good pitcher,” Bochy said. “Just a hit away from getting things going, just like last night.”
On the second-to-last day of Bochy’s managerial career, the Giants played scoreboard tributes from former major-league managers Jim Leyland, Bill Virdon – “Who I revere so much, being my first major league manager,” Bochy said – Tony La Russa and Dusty Baker, along with California Governor Gavin Newsom. Just prior to the game, Bochy also received a key to the city of San Francisco from Mayor London Breed.
After Saturday’s game, Bochy wasn’t thinking too much about Sunday, which will be his final game as Giants manager. But, heading into his managerial finale, he knew that the memories were going to start flooding in, especially with a spate of former Giants – whose identities are still a mystery to Bochy – sure to make appearances.
“I’m sure a lot of emotions are going to be going through me,” Bochy said. “Right now, I’m good. Just kinda taking it all in.”