Logan Webb has always been his harshest critic.
Even after outstanding starts, he often feels the need to remind everyone that he could’ve done better. He leads Major League Baseball in innings pitched, but has repeatedly claimed that he isn’t doing his job.
Since emerging as the Giants’ ace, Webb has shared some of his personal goals, including crossing the 200-inning mark — which he accomplished before anyone else this season.
After out-dueling Cy Young Award favorite Blake Snell, Webb was asked how high winning the Cy Young ranks for him among his individual dreams. His response was revealing, and — typical of the humble star — not about himself.
“I mean, yeah, it’s definitely something I’d like to do,” Webb said. “To be honest with you, winning is more important. If we don’t do that, it’s kind of a waste. That’s my goal, you know. I’m tired of losing, it’s not enjoyable, it’s not fun. We’ve got to make some big changes in here to create that winning culture, that we want to show up every single year and try to win the whole thing. I think we’re there, we’ve just got to — I don’t know what it is, I’m just sick of losing. That’s number one for me, goal-wise.”
Any time a player — particularly one of Webb’s caliber and stature within an organization — says something like that, eyebrows raise. We need to make some big changes is somewhat of a magic phrase.
President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler are each expected back next year, according to chairman Greg Johnson’s multiple public statements. Both are on contracts set to expire after the 2024 season (unless either have quietly already reached an extension agreement).
But Webb, asked to clarify what he meant, put the onus more on the people inside the clubhouse than anyone in the boardroom or coaches offices.
“I don’t know. That’s not up to me,” Webb said. “I think, for me and other guys in there, we’ve got to come in here with that same winning mentality every single day. Not saying we don’t have that, just saying that maybe we need to put a little extra onto that. There’s a lot of guys in here — I know (Alex) Cobb hasn’t been in the playoffs for a long time. I feel terrible for a guy like that. Pitched his ass off this year, he’s an All-Star, and he should be pitching in the playoffs. I want to help make that happen for him. It’s tough. It’s not fun.”
Barring the miracle of all miracles, Cobb’s personal playoff drought is now at 10 years. The Giants haven’t won a playoff series as a franchise since 2014. Under Zaidi, they’re in danger of their third sub-.500 season in five years.
In his answer, Webb certainly didn’t single out Zaidi or Kapler. He recently went on a long walk in the Dodger Stadium outfield with Kapler. And like the manager did Monday night, Kapler has frequently trusted Webb to pitch deep into games, even as his pitch count rises, which has instilled confidence in the starter.
Winning cultures though, such as the ones Webb aspires for, require consistently winning. From Webb’s perspective, that has been particularly rough.
In games Webb — a legitimate Cy Young candidate — started, the Giants are now 15-18. That’s even with him leading MLB in quality starts. No starter has gotten less run support than Webb, who got lifted by Michael Conforto’s two-out, go-ahead double in the eighth inning.
If those two runs felt like a week’s worth to Webb, nobody would blame him. It was the 16th game that San Francisco (ranked 23rd in runs scored overall) has scored two or fewer runs behind Webb this season.
So when it comes to Webb’s perspective on a winning culture, perhaps that looks like something as simple as improving the batting order. If that happens, in any way possible, he’ll have more nights like Monday night.
“I would say, maybe lately I’ve been a little more frustrated out there,” Webb said. “I haven’t done my job, haven’t done the best job. Same thing, I kinda felt it tonight — gave up a run, felt like I let the team down right there. As the game was going on, then the boys came and picked me up. They scored those two runs and I knew going back out there (for the ninth) was my chance to back them up, get their backs. That was a fun one. That was a cool win.”