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Gameday Thread, #82: 7/2 vs. A's

Brandon Webb, RHP (8-3, 2.85)
Barry Zito, LHP (8-4, 3.46)

If you'd had to place a bet, before the series started, on which game would see a 0-0 tie reaching into the seventh inning, this is probably the one you'd have picked. And while the starters today have a combined record of 16-7, they'll have quite some task to live up to the pitching duel which unfolded between Batista and Loaiza on Saturday.

Having seen Batista bounce back from a wretched June, we'll be hoping that Webb can do exactly the same. After posting ERAs of 2.22 and 1.80 through April and May, it ballooned to 5.08 for May, thanks to 42 hits and 9 walks in 33.2 innings. Says Webb,"I still feel good, and it's not like the ball is feeling different or bad coming out of my hand. It's just something is not right. It's been over a month now. I don't know. It's tough. I don't know why. I don't know how that happened. I couldn't lose a game and now I can't win in a month and a half."

Given this, could do with an easier opponent for Sunday than Zito - though we do at least have the series already tucked in our back pocket. He had an amazing May (41 IP, 6 ER), but came back to earth in June with a 3.95 ERA. Last time out, he lasted only five innings, his shortest appearance since April 3rd and the only time since then he hasn't gone six or more. He does walk people - =4th in the majors, on 51 - so that's something of which we should look to take advantage.

Now, set this to "Publish", Jim. :-)