Farhan Zaidi explains what led to Logan Webb's second-half dominance

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Zaidi details reason behind Webb's second-half success originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Heading into October, the Giants starting rotation will be anchored by two aces.

Their first-half ace was Kevin Gausman, and their second-half ace is Logan Webb

Gausman's dominant first-half of the season did not carry over into the back half of the 2021 schedule. That's when the 24-year-old took over the role as the staff ace. 

From May 5 through September 2, Webb strung together 14 consecutive starts allowing two earned runs or fewer. 

His stat line during that stretch: 9-0, 80 1/3 IP, 56 H, 13 ER, 16 BB, 88 Ks. 

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi explained what changed with Webb that allowed him to pitch so well throughout the second half of the season. 

“It’s sort of one of these classic chicken and the egg things," Zaidi told KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks" on Thursday. "When you look at the numbers you say that he’s throwing more strikes. I think that’s the baseline, he’s always had good stuff. We’ve seen glimpses of the stuff over the past couple of years, but when you look at his performance and the pitch-by-pitch numbers, he’s throwing more strikes.

"Now, does throwing more strikes give you confidence, or does having more confidence lead you to attack the zone more, or is it a little bit of both? I think that’s what we’re seeing with Logan.”

Webb's first two seasons at the major league level were frustrating, to say the least. It was clear there was plenty of talent, but a lack of consistency led to some doubt over whether or not he would ever develop into the pitcher the Giants had hoped he'd become. 

This season though, Webb has a new identity, and it's allowed him to finally reach his true potential. 

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“I also think he’s kind of figured out his identity as a pitcher," Zaidi added. "He was a guy who obviously had a good arm. There was a question of whether he should be throwing curveballs and elevating the heater like some of our other guys. He’s really become more of an east-west guy. You see it with his sinker and slider and has a really good changeup too. But he’s taking on a little bit more of that identity which is the best way for him to pitch. I think those are some things that have clicked and obviously, he’s been absolutely huge for us in the stretch.”

The Giants, who will send Webb to the mound Friday against the Atlanta Braves, will need their young ace to maintain this level of success if they hope to make a deep run into October in pursuit of their fourth World Series championship in 12 years. 

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