SAN FRANCISCO -- The National League Cy Young Award winner likely walked off the field after six innings on Monday night at Oracle Park. Three innings later, the man who looks like a frontrunner for the 2024 NL Cy Young Award walked through a handshake line.
Logan Webb doesn't get at-bats anymore, so there wasn't anything he could do on Monday to put a dent in Blake Snell's push for his second Cy Young. Snell was the heavy favorite coming into the final week of the season and threw six shutout innings against a Giants lineup he has dominated all year.
Snell leads the majors with a 2.25 ERA -- including a 1.20 ERA in his last 23 starts -- and has a massive lead over the rest of the NL and a full run on Webb. While advanced statistics and rate stats get used more often these days, it's still nearly impossible to topple a pitcher who goes 14-9 with a 2.25 ERA and 234 strikeouts.
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Webb certainly gave it his best effort, though.
The 26-year-old had perhaps his most dominant outing of the season, throwing his second complete game and essentially wrapping up the MLB innings title. Webb allowed a run in the first and then didn't give up another base hit over 100 mph. He got 15 outs on the ground -- including three with the tying run on third in the ninth -- and struck out seven, leading the Giants to a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the Padres.
"It was just exactly what we needed at exactly the right time and kind of felt like a Cy Young outing," manager Gabe Kapler said.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants find themselves in an interesting spot when arguing for Webb. They strongly believe in statistics that strip out what did happen in favor of what should have happened, but if you go by FIP or xFIP or expected ERA, then Atlanta's Spencer Strider is your choice. If you go by the traditional back-of-the-baseball card method or just pure dominance, it's Snell.
For Webb, the Giants have turned to the workhorse case, which is ironic given that they spent most of the year with just two actual starters and do their best to limit the number of times a pitcher sees an opposing lineup. Webb's final out Monday put him at 216 innings, and it would be impossible for either Arizona's Zac Gallen (203 2/3) or New York's Gerrit Cole (200) to catch him at this point.
Webb will become the first Giant since Gaylord Perry in 1970 to lead the majors in innings pitched. They have been quality innings, too. Webb lowered his ERA to 3.25 and his FIP to 3.17.
After the win, which pushed the Giants back into third in the NL West, Kapler made the case for an ace who has taken on a heavy workload since opening day.
"I know we've leaned on rate stats, which I understand as good as anybody, but seeing (the workload) up close and personal every fifth day, you see the value, you feel the value," Kapler said. "I imagine everybody around the league does too when it comes to innings."
That will be for voters to decide, and Webb should vault past plenty of others on the ballot based on his workload. He has thrown 36 more innings than Snell and 34 1/3 more than Strider, and it's possible he finishes ahead of the latter. Webb knows he won't pass Snell, though.
"He's going to win the Cy Young," he said after the game. "He's the best pitcher in baseball."
Asked why he's so confident that it's wrapped up, Webb smiled and pointed to Snell's ERA.
"He has a (2.25) ... that's pretty good," he said.
After falling short of 200 innings last season, Webb made that a clear goal for 2023. He shot past the milestone, which has led to questions about what's next. Webb said he would love to win a Cy Young at some point, but he made it clear that winning is his priority, and anyone who has seen how hard he has taken losses in the second half would back that up.
"It's definitely something I would like to do, but to be honest with you, winning is more important. If we don't do that then it's kind of a waste. That's my goal. I'm tired of losing. It's not enjoyable, it's not fun," Webb said. "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, it's just we've got to -- I don't know what it is -- I'm sick of losing, to be honest."