Logan Webb

Webb left stunned, Giants' lineup flat in fourth straight loss

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WASHINGTON D.C. -- When he threw his first career shutout two weeks ago, Logan Webb was so efficient that the Giants' handshake line took place less than two hours after his first pitch of the game. On Saturday night, it felt like the first three hitters of the bottom of the second inning were up at the plate for nearly that long. 

After a scoreless first, Webb threw 29 pitches to Joey Meneses, Keibert Ruiz and Dominic Smith to start the second inning and 12 of them were fouled off. All three hitters reached, putting Webb's back up against the wall and forcing him to chase quick outs. He wasn't able to get those either, and he ended up having the shortest start of his career. 

Webb lasted just 1 1/3 innings and was charged with six earned runs. The lineup wasn't any better as the Giants lost 10-1 to the last-place Washington Nationals, dropping their fourth straight. 

The lineup's woes are nothing new, at least this month. Webb's rough night was a surprise, though, because July had been one of his best months in the big leagues. Webb allowed two runs in his start before the shutout and two in his first start of the second half. The six runs on Saturday were a season-high. 

What happened? Webb pointed squarely at Meneses, Ruiz and Smith. 

"I threw 29 pitches to three hitters. I've never had that before," he said. "(The Nationals) don't really swing and miss often. They did a good job of doing that and getting a lot of pitches to three straight hitters. They just kinda got to me after that. It was just one of those days where balls are finding holes and then there's some damage, the triple and a home run. Yeah, it was just a s--tty day."

Webb usually can get out of jams with one groundball, but on this night they found holes, and CJ Abrams ended his start with a two-run blast to right that made it 6-0. Even before that swing, the Giants were ready to make a change. Their ace ended up throwing 41 pitches in one inning on a muggy night in the nation's capital. 

"You start to get concerned about his overall workload," manager Gabe Kapler said. "You're starting to realize that he can't go much further and he's going to have to start getting some quick outs. I think Logan may have felt the pressure of that, as well. He wasn't making his best pitches at that point."

Webb said the night was frustrating, and that describes most of the rotation on this trip. Alex Wood took a step backward on Friday and the Giants will go with an opener -- Scott Alexander -- on Sunday instead of starting Anthony DeSclafani. One of their top depth options -- Sean Manaea -- entered after Webb on Saturday and gave up four quick runs, although he did at least prevent the bullpen from having to carry a heavy load. 

The problem for the Giants right now is that the lineup is in an even bigger rut. They managed just five hits and scored one run for the third time in the last 10 games. In July, the Giants are averaging just 3.5 runs per game and rank 29th in the league in OPS. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates have been worse. 

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Kapler often says he likes the approach even when the results aren't there. He admitted the last couple of days haven't even hit that standard. 

"There's no quick fix here," he said. "It's just a back-to-work mentality, grinding in every at-bat, looking for pitches to drive. It's not the same for every hitter. Each hitter has his own independent approach, but from a team perspective, it's always going to be the look. Especially with the day game tomorrow, it's important that we turn the page quickly and wash off tonight. It was a bad game for us.

"It's been several games, and to some degree or another, we haven't been a very explosive or powerful offense for some time. But as I look at the names on that page I know that we are that explosive, powerful offense. When the bottom of the lineup starts to swing the bats, we're going to score a bunch of runs. Obviously, the middle of the lineup has done a good job of putting together good at-bats throughout the season. We just need to continue to grind."

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