Brandon Webb enters his Saturday start at Coors Field with a chance to get
victory No. 10 before flying off to Pittsburgh for his first All-Star
appearance. As he gets ready for the second half of the season to unfold, all
the right-hander is thinking about is trying to remain as consistent as he was
in the first half.
Webb, 9-3 with a 2.72 ERA, hasn't made any alterations to his mechanics, he's
stayed away from injury, and he's chewing up innings at an alarming rate,
leading the National League with 132 1/3.
"I just want to stay where I'm at," he said. "I don't want to work on anything
or try and do anything extra. I just want to keep doing what I'm doing."
Webb has 15 "quality starts" in his 18 appearances this season and is coming off
his third complete-game victory, when he helped beat Oakland 3-1 to cap a
three-game sweep by the Diamondbacks at McAfee Coliseum.
One significant difference in Webb, who is known primarily for owning one of the
best sinkerballs in the game, is his inclusion of more breaking balls,
especially early in counts.
"That makes it a lot easier," he said. "It keeps them off-balance so they're not
just going to sit there waiting on the sinker all day."
Pitching coach Bryan Price said Webb's confidence and conviction with those
pitches have made him climb even further into elite-pitcher status.
"It's a different speed, a different look and when a starting pitcher goes
through the lineup three or four times, it helps make him be successful," Price
said. "He's throwing his curveball and changeup at about a 65 percent strike
ratio, which is about the same as his fastball. That's huge.
"He's working ahead all the time and he's able to incorporate that comeback
fastball to the left-handed hitters, so that if he doesn't get the guy early in
the count with that sinker or an off-speed pitch, he's able to finish the hitter
with that (Greg) Maddux-type fastball that's in off the hip."
--RF Shawn Green, who missed Wednesday's game at Dodger Stadium with a bone
bruise on his right hip after getting hit by a pitch on Tuesday, is expected to
be available Friday when Arizona opens a three-game series at Coors Field.
--RHP Brandon Webb, who led the National League with 119 walks in 2004, cut that
number in half last season. This year he is leading the league with the fewest
walks per nine innings (1.4).
"That's something I've really been working on and it's been a real key for me,"
Webb said. "Actually, that's one of the things I'm the most proud of."
--LF Luis Gonzalez needs three doubles to tie Ed Delahanty for 33rd on the
all-time list with 522.
--C Johnny Estrada has hit safely in nine of his past 10 games (16-for-42) and
leads all National League catchers with 45 RBIs.
--CF Eric Byrnes on his ability to name every U.S. President, in order: "It was
a bet. I was driving from Phoenix to Midland, Texas, with a buddy of mine and we
were on our way to play Double-A ball. Somebody gave me a placemat with all the
presidents on it, and I made a friendly wager with Jason Hart, the guy I was
driving with, and I told him I could memorize all the presidents in half an
hour. And I did."
BY THE NUMBERS: 7 -- Errors this season by second baseman Orlando Hudson through
July 5, surpassing his entire season total from 2005 when he won the Gold Glove
for second basemen in the American League while with Toronto.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The virus is not in the sheets, it is in the body of the man
that is lying on top of them." -- RHP Miguel Batista, on the Diamondbacks' 4-20
slide to end the month of June and when asked, in general, how the team can turn
its season around.
RHP Juan Cruz, who had been out since June 7 with a sore shoulder, was activated
and started July 3.
OF Scott Hairston went on the disabled list retroactive to June 20 with a right
RF Shawn Green didn't play July 5 due to a bone bruise on his right hip after
getting hit by a pitch July 4. He said he should be able to play July 7.