SAN FRANCISCO. Tuesday was Logan Webb Day at Sierra Elementary School in Rocklin.
If the 24-year-old Webb defeats the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night in the fifth game of the National League’s divisional series, his fame will extend far beyond Placer County.
Arguably, in terms of interest, intensity, and rivalry, Webb represents the biggest game in Oracle Park history.
If he defeats the Dodgers and sends the Giants to the National League championship streak against the Atlanta Braves, perhaps someday a statue in his likeness will appear outside the stadium.
Not that there was any pressure or anything like that.
“I feel like I just love moments like this,” Webb said Wednesday at a press conference before training for the Giants. “I love the crowd. I love pressure. I’m excited to quit tomorrow, especially because I have a boyfriend (in Buster Posey) who is always calm. Even if I get up a little, he will be the first to tell me to bring him back. ”
Based on Webb’s overall workload, and especially his two most recent starts, the Giants should love their 2: 2 NLDS odds. On May 7, Webb gave up his six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings on the Colorado road and saw, that his record fell to 1-3. He has been unbeaten since then, finishing the regular season 11-3 with an average of 3.03 earned.
Webb beat the San Diego Padres 11-4, ending the regular season to secure the Giants’ title over the Dodgers – and even home run in the decider. He struck out eight in seven innings. Then, in the first NLDS game against the Dodgers, Webb was even better, scattering five shots in 7 2/3 innings no walks and 10 strikeouts.
At 6’1,220 pounds with a vicious double-seam fastball that runs inward for right-handed batsmen, plus a slider and a substitute, Webb serves in a way that belies his age and level of experience.
“I can’t say he played his fifth game in the divisional series, but he is otherwise well-tested in combat,” said Giants manager Gabe Kapler. “I think he can draw on some of the experience he had and definitely trust himself because of the success he has had to date.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts thought his team was not patient enough and drove too many passes in the first leg, but admitted that given Webb’s skills, cymbal discipline is easier said than done.
“He has really good things. The ball has a lot of action, ”Roberts said. “When he’s right, he has a really good team, and even when he’s not, the ball kind of moves a lot.”
Despite all the success, Webb’s demeanor has not changed.
“He’s a big blockhead who appears with a big silly smile on his face every day in a good mood,” said outfielder Mike Jastrzemski. “No moment changes that, big or small.”
Webb undergoes a transformation on days when he smashes a ball filled with three cans of Red Bull energy drink – one when he arrives on the field, one when he stretches, and one after a warm-up. Webb acknowledged this as a bad habit and said that he and his brother began to do it with a travel ball, warning: “Do not be angry with my father or mother.”
Even with caffeine, Webb remains friendly and approachable.
“I’ve been around some pretty good, high quality Hall of Fame level pitchers who are just really hard to talk to in the early days, and there are a few pitchers that everyone in the club knows, you just stay away from them on start day,” said Kapler. … “But that’s not Logan Webb.”
Webb is not offended by the fact that Yastrzemsky characterized him as a “blockhead”, and in fact applies this to himself.
“I’m always a fool,” Webb said. “I tried not to talk to anyone.” You’ve heard of these guys and I think it’s stupid. I can not do it. I have to talk to people, laugh, smile, keep calm. ”
When Webb is on the mound, it’s a whole different story, as evidenced by his screams and punching after he made great strides in his masterpiece Game 1. The puppy transforms into a pit bull.
“I definitely think that when I’m on the hill, I’m not at all like that,” said Webb. “I’m kind of locked up. You see how I scream at myself all the time. But as soon as I get off the embankment and find myself in the dugout, I can get angry for a couple of seconds, but then I want to talk to the serve coaches, talk to Cap and Buster. ”
Webb suggests Rocklin will jump on Thursday night.
“I’m sure it will be amazing,” Webb said. “It’s great to see support from my city, I saw pictures of Logan Webb Day in elementary school. They were all dressed in the clothes of giants. ”
Another victory will put Webb and the Giants one step closer to the parade in Rocklin and San Francisco.