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 shoulder injury.
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.
Webb In Control