Giants’ struggling offense sparks ‘frustrating’ Webb response

Author:
NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO — Coming off a second-place finish in the NL Cy Young race, there wasn’t a lot that Logan Webb needed to work on this spring. But it wasn’t hard for him to find his next project in February. 

Webb has never held runners well, so he focused on that part of his game in the spring, knowing that all he has to do most times is give Patrick Bailey a chance. Bailey was on the IL for Friday night’s game, so when Elly De La Cruz, MLB’s leader in stolen bases, reached in the first inning, Webb took matters into his own hands. 

He threw over to first right away, and when umpire Larry Vanover ruled De La Cruz out, Webb couldn’t hide his excitement. But a few moments later, De La Cruz was standing on second.

A review overturned the initial call and De La Cruz easily stole the first of two bases on a night when he got to 25 on the season. He scored both times, and speedy outfielder Stuart Fairchild added another run on an inside-the-park homer. The Giants knew these Reds would try to run on them, especially with Bailey out until Saturday because of a concussion, but they were powerless to stop them. 

Right now, they can’t seem to do much of anything to stop this skid. 

The lineup scored in the first two innings and then went silent. “We lost our mojo,” manager Bob Melvin said, shaking his head. An error and dropped bloop allowed one run to score and two outfielders converged on Fairchild’s deep fly ball but pulled back, allowing another to score. 

Cincinnati won 4-2, snapping their eight-game losing streak. In the other clubhouse, a familiar feeling continued to set in. 

“It’s dog s—, to be honest, as a whole,” Webb said of this stretch. “It’s frustrating. It’s not good enough.”

Webb said repeatedly that he has to be better, but Giants pitchers shouldn’t constantly be asked to do more than go seven innings and allow three runs, only two of which were earned for Webb. Their margin of error continues to be too thin because of the ongoing issues for the lineup. 

The Giants averaged just three runs per game on a 3-7 road trip. Since scoring five in back-to-back wins over the New York Mets, they have averaged 2.9 runs over 15 games. It’s the kind of stretch that means you have to be perfect everywhere else, and on Friday, they weren’t close.

“Look, you can’t give these guys extra bases,” Melvin said. “Certainly one of them ended up costing us a run. When you’re not scoring many runs, you’ve got to play perfect defense or you can’t make mistakes. It was a combination of things.”

The Giants should get Bailey back from the concussion IL on Saturday, and the timing couldn’t be better. He’s a Gold Glove candidate behind the plate, but he also has developed into one of the team’s more reliable hitters. 

Bailey should be there for Webb when he faces the Los Angeles Dodgers next Wednesday, but if they keep playing this brand of baseball, the Giants will be double-digit games out in the division when their rivals arrive. The latest loss dropped them to 17-23, the fourth-worst record in the National League. It went on the record of Webb, who was shaky early but cruised through the middle innings and ended up getting through the seventh, something he has done in all four of his starts at Oracle Park this season.

“He gave up three runs, only two earned, seven innings — still pitched good enough,” Melvin said. “When you only score two runs, then it’s going to be a problem.”

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