Like clockwork, Logan Webb made the start every time his spot in the SF Giants' rotation came around in 2022.
From the April 8 Opening Day against Miami through September 27 against Colorado, the 25-year-old right-hander from the Sacramento area was the epitome of reliability: 32 games started, with four or five days of rest leading up to all but three (and two of those were six days). Only five times did Webb fail to complete five innings, and he almost always kept his team in the game while racking up 15 wins and a 2.90 ERA.
Following that late-September shutdown of the visiting Rockies (five innings, five hits, one run, seven strikeouts), Webb was lined up to start one more time: Sunday, October 2. Had the Giants met their expectations of being a playoff team, Webb would have taken the ball.
The Giants did not reach the playoffs. Therefore, Webb did not make his final scheduled start. He, in fact, was placed on the Injured List to officially end his campaign.
While the "Injured List" designation looks ominous (you never know with pitcher injuries), Webb's wasn't as bad as that sounds. Saturday, the day before he was supposed to make that final appearance, Giants manager Gabe Kapler told the team's beat writers that they were shutting Webb down to preserve him for the future.
Webb pitched a career-high in innings
Webb's 2021 season had represented his most usage in a single year of his pro career, with 148 1/3 innings pitched in the Major Leagues in addition to two innings in Triple-A. That was the year he broke out and helped lead the team to the National League West title, earning himself 2022 Opening Day responsibilities in the process.
So when Webb surpassed his innings total by plenty, and with the team eliminated from playoff contention, San Francisco's brain trust made the call to start his offseason a few days earlier and not risk a freak injury in a meaningless start.
For the season, Webb finished with 192 1/3 innings, 49 walks and 163 strikeouts. Despite a lower ERA, his ratios were slightly worse than 2021: 1.16 WHIP in 2022 after a 1.11 in 2021, a slight rise in hits and walks per nine innings and, most worrisome, a drop of two full strikeouts per nine (9.6 in 2021, 7.6 in 2022). He did keep his home run rate steady at 0.5 HR/9, which certainly helped the ERA.
Hopefully the early wrap-up will prepare Webb to raise his game in 2023 as the Giants look to get back to the playoffs.