Pitching with passion and emotion, Jacob Webb having strong year out of O's 'pen

He may have stumbled during the 2023 playoffs, but in 41 regular season games since the club acquired him last Aug. 7 heading into last night, right-handed reliever Jacob Webb has a 2.70 ERA, 1.036 WHIP and 10.1 K rate.

This year, in 17 games counting last night, he has an ERA of 1.76 with five walks to 19 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings. Opponent batters have hit just .176 off him and lefty batters are just 1-for-19.

In the Yankees series, he fanned Aaron Judge in big spots in two separate games and fanned six in two games over just 2 2/3 innings. He was dominant at times.

While Webb said his changeup has been really good this year, another factor in his success is pitching with a lot of emotion. The fire burns within and the pitches move more, find their spots more and get more swings and misses it seems when passion is also part of his outings.

“Every time I go out to pitch, I try to create that emotion and that feeling,” Webb told me recently. “But I feel like some (games) are bigger than others, certain situations. I would just say I try to lock in like that every time and get myself pumped up as much as I can.

“Certain situations, they definitely just kind of do that on their own. And other times you have to dig deep inside and try to create it on your own,” he said.

Webb was throwing his fastball 92 to 94 mph in that series with New York when he pitched so well. He is not blowing hitters away. But pitching with emotion is big for him and he wants to be quite fired up out there.

“I feel like it almost like creates a hyper focus,” he said. "You are super locked in, super in tune with what I am doing. Yeah, it’s a hyper focus really.”

But he said he can ride a fine line out there with that emotion and you don't want to get so fired up that you begin losing your control and command.

“You definitely want to be able to control it. Being put in those situations gives you that experience and I’ve had experiences like that before where I feel like my body is on vibrate and the adrenaline is pumping,” he said.

Manager Brandon Hyde saw Webb get 14 swings on misses on 18 swings in the Yankees series. He loves what the right-hander is bringing to his club right now.

“Really impressed,” said Hyde. “Look at Jacob Webb’s career numbers, pretty solid. Pitched for a really good Atlanta Braves pitching staff.

“He’s a bulldog in every sense. He wants the ball. He doesn’t like to walk people. He’s on the attack. He pitched Aaron Judge totally different than he did prior (in his second appearance in the NY series). I love his changeup. His slider can get inconsistent at times but it's still a really good pitch. He just wants the ball and he is super, super competitive.”

Webb’s changeup is back as a quality pitch in 2024 and he is getting a 40 percent whiff rate with that pitch using it right-on-right sometimes too.

“It’s been a pretty big pitch that I have a lot of confidence in. It’s a good pitch and this whole season I’ve had a good feel for it and can rely on it more than last year. When I came here last year, I didn’t really have that pitch and before it was always my pitch. I was pitching a bit differently last year compared to right now. Being able to rely on that pitch right now and to be able to throw it to any hitter in any count, is an awesome feeling."

O's lose in D.C. - The Orioles run of seven straight games allowing two runs or fewer ended last night. And so did their current four-game win streak and their seven-game win streak over Washington. They lost 3-0 at Nats Park to fall into a first-place tie with the Yankees.

The Orioles, still winners of six of eight and 15 of the last 21 games, are now 23-12.

They were shutout for the second time (also May 1 against New York) and were held to a season-low tying three hits. 

The Baltimore offense produced 10 hits or more 10 times their first 21 games. In that span of the season they had a team OPS of .789 and scored 5.8 runs per game.

Their past 14 games, they have 10 hits or more just one time with an OPS of .692, scoring 4.1 runs per game.

The Orioles went 14-7 in those first 21 games and are 9-5 in these past 14. So, they have scored less recently but pitching has carried them to wins.  

Tonight they need to win to avoid seeing their streak of not having been swept end at 102 straight regular-season series. 



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