NL Cy Young Watch: Brandon Webb

Brandon WebbSan Francisco Giants (68-83) at Arizona Diamondbacks (74-76)

First Pitch: 9:40 PM ET
Starting Pitchers: Jonathan Sanchez (9-10, 4.47 ERA) vs. Brandon Webb (20-7, 3.28)

Cy Young Watch:
Webb became the National League’s first 20-game winner in his last start, allowing five hits in eight scoreless innings in a 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. But before earning his 20th win, Webb was 0-3 with a 12.51 ERA in three previous starts.

Webb will face a struggle Giants club that has totaled just one run in the first two games of the four-game series with the Diamondbacks. Webb will try to improve on his 12-5 record and 3.25 ERA in 25 starts against the G-Men. San Fran is just 7-9 this season against Arizona, so Webb has an outstanding opportunity to get to 21-5 on the season and help his cause for NL Cy Young.

The Giants will counter with Sanchez, who is 1-1 with a 7.24 ERA in three starts against the Diamondbacks this season. The left-hander is 1-4 in six career starts against Arizona.

Make sure to check out our Athlete Profile on Brandon Webb.

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Athlete Profile: Brandon Webb

Brandon WebbIf there’s one quality baseball fans are often short on, it’s faith. Even more so, general managers and coaches are guilty of this deficiency. You can see it displayed in the fine print of your local newspaper: so-and-so is sent down to Triple A, while so-and-so is called back up. The phrase “testing the waters” comes to mind when it should probably be “he’ll come around.”

Never has the last expression been more relevant than in the case of Brandon Webb. After having a promising rookie year in 2003, Webb’s following season was horrific, as he lost 16 games as a starter for the Diamondbacks. But the organization was faithful to the talents they witnessed in his rookie year. Come 2005, he was out of his prior slump, posting a 14-12 record. The Diamondbacks rewarded the youngster with a contract extension through 2010.Webb responded to this gesture of loyalty with a phenomenal year in 2006, an overall performance that rivaled the club’s best from the likes of Johnson and Schilling. Finishing with a record of 16-8 and a 3.10 ERA, his consistency not only earned Webb his first All-Star appearance, but more importantly, his first Cy Young Award. In 2007, Webb continued to pile on the accolades, as he threw for 42 1/3 scoreless innings, the 12th longest streak in major league history.

Webb’s ability has not wavered. He currently leads the National League in wins and is the rock of the Diamondbacks’ shaky roster.

Much of Webb’s success can be traced to his fatal two-seam sinker, a pitch that literally antagonizes the batter into making a haphazard swing. Sport Illustrated has called Webb’s sinker arguably the filthiest pitch in baseball and compared it to Mariano Rivera’s cutter, Barry Zito’s curve, and Brad Lidge’s slider.

Imagine, Webb initially wanted to be a rock star. In an ironic twist of fate, it was a wild pitch that hit Brandon on the knuckle, forcing him to quit guitar for the time being. Lacking a hobby, he pursued baseball.


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