Giants hand ball to Webb in opener against Marlins

Field Level Media

April 07, 2022 at 2:00 pm.

The San Francisco Giants have found their ace in Logan Webb.

When the Giants face the visiting Miami Marlins on Friday in the season opener for both teams, Webb will match up against fellow right-hander Sandy Alcantara.

Webb went 11-3 with a 3.03 ERA in 27 appearances last year, including 26 starts.

That was a huge breakthrough considering he had a 5.22 ERA as a rookie in 2019 and a 5.47 ERA in 2020.

But last year, Webb was dominant, especially over his final 22 starts, going 11-0 with a 2.20 ERA including the postseason.

He’s also had success against the Marlins, beating them in his only appearance last season. That happened last year on April 25, when he threw seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and three walks while striking out eight batters.

Webb features a sinker, changeup and slider for approximately 90 percent of his pitches, and he’s intense on the mound.

“You see me yelling at myself all the time,” Webb said. “But as soon as I get off the mound, I get back to talking to my coaches.”

Webb is backed by a Giants team that won 107 games and the National League West division last season, snapping a four-year playoff drought.

The big change for the Giants this year is at catcher, where seven-time All-Star Buster Posey retired. Joey Bart, 25, is the heir apparent. He has just 35 games of big-league experience, but he was the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2018.

Gabe Kapler, the reigning NL Manager of the Year, also has Curt Casali, whose 2.72 catcher’s ERA was the best in the majors last season.

Offensively, the Giants’ top players, based on their 2021 statistics, are first baseman Brandon Belt (29 homers, .975 OPS), shortstop Brandon Crawford (24 homers, .895 OPS) and third baseman Evan Longoria (.833 OPS).

However, Belt is questionable for Friday due to knee inflammation, and Longoria (finger) is out. In addition, starting right fielder LaMonte Wade Jr. is out due to a knee injury, and starting second baseman Tommy LaStella (foot) is questionable.

As for the Marlins, Alcantara is set to become the third pitcher in franchise history to make three starts on Opening Day. The others on the list are Josh Beckett (2003-2005) and Josh Johnson (2010-2012).

Alcantara went 9-15 with a 3.19 ERA last year, striking out 201 batters in 205 2/3 innings over 33 starts.

He was one of just three major leaguers to get at least 200 innings and 200 strikeouts last year, joining top-four Cy Young finishers Walker Buehler and Zack Wheeler.

Yet Alcantara — who is 0-2 with a 2.88 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against the Giants — doesn’t get much media attention.

“I feel bad sometimes because I don’t get much credit,” Alcantara said. “But I’ve got to keep focused.”

As for the lineup, the Marlins have added three starters — Gold Glove-winning catcher Jacob Stallings and corner outfielders Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler.

Last year with the Brewers, Garcia set career highs with 29 homers and 86 RBIs. Soler was the World Series MVP with Atlanta.

One issue for the Marlins is at closer, where Dylan Floro (15 saves last year) will not break camp with the team while recovering from an arm injury. Holdover Anthony Bender (2.79 ERA in 2021) could be the closer until Floro returns.