TEMPE, Ariz. — Logan Webb’s first test of the Cactus League: getting Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani out.
Between the two premier Angels are a combined four Most Valuable Player trophies, 10 Silver Sluggers and 12 All-Star selections.
The Giants’ probable Opening Day starter didn’t get either out. And in the next inning, he got squared up for a double and home run.
In his two innings of work, Webb allowed two runs on four hits as he fell behind in counts. He said after leaving the game that he felt a bit rushed, not because of the pitch timer but because of normal adrenaline that comes with a debut.
“I just kind of rushed a little bit with my mechanics,” Webb said. “Couple arm-side misses. Whenever I’m doing that, I kind of know. Sometimes I expect that, since it’s the first one, you’re super excited.”
Webb, 26, is the clear-cut ace of San Francisco’s rotation. He’s coming off a season with career bests in wins, innings and earned run average. One two-inning Cactus League sample is essentially meaningless, but his performance in the Giants’ 8-6 win showed he isn’t yet his best self.
“I think he’s just trying to find his delivery a little bit, which is totally normal for this time of spring,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Trying to get his shapes right. He’s been working on his slider. He mentioned he didn’t have a great feel for his changeup because he’s been paying so much attention to his slider. The only thing I would say is: as always, this is just totally normal things to work through in the spring.”
Webb hadn’t faced Trout or Ohtani in his career before Monday. He said he met both of them pregame and could tip his cap when they came up.
In the first inning, Trout and Ohtani smacked back-to-back singles up the middle against Webb. Both hits were smoked, but shortstop Brandon Crawford nearly made a diving play on Ohtani’s. Had he been able to line up on the right side of the second base bag, like shortstops could before the new shift ban, Crawford may have gotten his body in front of it.
Webb, along with No. 2 starter Alex Cobb, is one of the pitchers potentially most vulnerable to the shift ban due to his ground ball-heavy style.
Neither Angel star scored that inning because Webb rolled an inning-ending double play.
“First (game), I guess I got to face the two best players in baseball,” Webb said. “I wish they didn’t hit it right by my face both times.”
“I just didn’t want to be on SportsCenter,” Webb added about facing Ohtani and Trout.
In Webb’s second inning, he fell behind 2-1 to Jared Walsh, who went the other way for a lined double. Then Luis Rengifo pulled a two-run shot over the right field fence for Webb’s first homer allowed in the spring. He gave up just 11 homers in 32 starts during last year’s regular season.
Austin Wynns, who caught Webb against the Angels, said the righty was “flying open” occasionally, but “the stuff was there.”
Webb has been working on his mechanics, but has been coy about the specifics; some pitchers like to keep their tweaks private for a number of reasons. But Monday, he said he felt he reverted back to last year’s habits as opposed to implementing what he’s been working on.
“He’s had excellent major league seasons where he’s been making changes all the way through,” Kapler said. “And I think these are just normal adjustments players make. So, there’s a little bit of an ebb and flow to the adjustment making, but more than anything else, I think this is just what pitchers do.”
- Keaton Winn picked Webb up, retiring both Trout and Ohtani in his scoreless inning. The prospect said he “blacked out” with adrenaline in his Cactus League debut.
“His splitter’s gross,” Winn’s batterymate Wynns said.
- LaMonte Wade Jr. led the game off by ripping an opposite field double. His home run in San Francisco’s spring opener was also to the opposite field. He went 1-for-2, bringing his two-game stat line to 3-for-5 with a homer and a double.
“This is what we’ve seen consistently from LaMonte,” Kapler said. “When he’s healthy, when he’s mentally as strong as he can be, the confidence is oozing out of him.”
- Melvin Adon was called for a balk in the bottom of the eighth inning when he ran out of disengagements with his third pickoff attempt. Adon struggled with command in the inning.
- Veteran outfielder Stephen Piscotty left the game one at-bat early after getting hit in the right thumb with a pitch. He initially stayed in the game to run the bases, but then exited.
Piscotty told KNBR in the clubhouse that he’s going to get an X-ray on the finger, but wasn’t overly concerned because he could still bend it. He said he could probably swing a bat, but gripping a ball might be trickier.
- Tyler Fitzgerald, a shortstop prospect who ended last year at Double-A, took grounders Monday morning behind Bradon Crawford and went 1-for-3 with two RBI in the afternoon.