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Gameday Thread, #25: 4/30 vs Giants

Brandon Webb, RHP (3-0, 2.21)
Matt Cain, RHP (1-2, 5.48)

Getting this one up early, so we can have a nice, long lie-in tomorrow. Followed, perhaps, by breakfast on the back porch - it won't be long before May beckons, and we enter the hermetically-sealed world of an Arizona summer, so got to enjoy the outdoors while we can. A reading of the Sunday newspapers will follow...and then I can kick the TV on just after 1pm and watch Webb baffle the Giants with his sinker for a bit. How's that for a slice of fried gold? :-)

Webb pitching is the nearest thing to a banker we've had all year. It's still too early to ascribe Big Unit-like infallibility to him, but he has easily been the most reliable of our starters: 5-for-5 in quality starts, while everyone else is 6-for-19. His control has been the best feature so far. Everyone was impressed when he chopped his BB/9 down from 5.15 in 2004, to 2.32 last season. But this year? He's halved it again, to 1.23 walks per nine innings.

That's among the lowest ratios in the league. Among NL pitchers with 20 or more innings, the only ones better are Lidle and Lieber of the Phillies (both at 0.88) and Park of San Diego (1.07). This helps Webb: hitters can no longer lay off his breaking ball, knowing there's a good chance it'll drop out of the zone. And as soon as they swing...welcome to Groundout Central, population: opposing batters.

They are hitting .270, which is a little higher than I'd like, but that should even out over time. He's also being very economical: 13.4 pitches per inning, only Maddux and Mulder are more efficient. That's partly why he's averaged 7.1 innings per start - to the great joy of the bullpen. We'll be looking for more of the same today, as he faces Matt Cain again. They met on April 19, and Webb came out on top: Cain gave the AZ hitters trouble initially, but we pulled away to an easy 10-3 victory. Hopefully we'll see something similar with our offense, quiet this series so far, coming back to life and letting us clinch a winning roadtrip.

Not sure what commenting I'll be doing. Should be around initially, but at work, I'm supposed to be going over to Advanced Hosting Support, and "learning" stuff. Yuck. :-) Actually, it should be fun (half the guys now in AHS are former colleagues of mine in WebBoard), but I somehow suspect that over there, I won't be able to plug into and listen to the radio broadcast!