Brandon Webb puts his 25-inning scoreless streak on the line and tries to become baseball’s first nine-game winner when the Arizona Diamondbacks open a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Chase Field on Monday.
Webb (8-0, 2.01 ERA) has scattered 15 hits during his scoreless streak and has not given up a run since the sixth inning on May 15 against San Diego. It’s the longest streak in the majors this season and is 2 1-3 innings shy of Andy Benes’ single-season club record set from Sept. 7-27, 1998.
The right-hander had a chance to win his ninth game in his last start, but Arizona (34-22) didn’t give him any support in a 1-0, 13-inning loss to the New York Mets on Wednesday. Webb gave up four hits over seven innings, but was matched by the Mets’ Pedro Martinez—who worked eight stellar innings.
“It was fun. We both pitched well which is, again, what I expected,” Webb said. “We’re going out there facing the hitters and not each other.”
Webb, who has issued only five walks over his last 63 innings, went 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Phillies (29-27) last year.
The Diamondbacks ended a 10-game road trip by recording the first four-game sweep by an opponent at Atlanta’s Turner Field, capped with a 9-3 victory on Sunday.
Third baseman Damion Easley had a huge series for Arizona, going 7-for-12 with four homers and 10 RBIs. He entered the series with two homers and 11 RBIs for the year.
“I’m just trying to keep the train moving,” Easley said. “The pitches I thought I could hit, I put in play.”
Easley was not the only unheralded Diamondback to have a good series. Center fielder Jeff DaVanon also was 7-for-12 with six runs scored.
Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley brings a hot bat to Arizona. Utley is hitting .391 (25-for-64) with 16 runs scored over the last 14 games.
Utley, who bats second in the lineup, went 3-for-5 with his second homer in three days on Sunday as Philadelphia earned a split of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 6-4 victory.
“He’s perfect for this lineup,” leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins said of Utley. “He starts the power threat early, so you don’t have to wait until you get to the 3-4-5-6 hitters for somebody to drive the ball out of the yard.”
Rollins, a .248 hitter this season, is 7-for-17 in his career against Webb.
Cory Lidle (4-5, 4.86) will make the start for the Phillies. Lidle gave up three runs and seven hits over 7 1-3 innings in a 3-2 loss to Washington on Wednesday.
The veteran right-hander is making his second career start against the Diamondbacks. Lidle opposed Webb and was tagged for seven runs and eight hits over eight innings in a 10-8 loss at Citizens Bank Park last June 6.
The Phillies went 4-3 against the Diamondbacks last season and begin play 4 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East.
Arizona, 7-3 against the East this season, sits atop the NL West and is 2 1/2 games in front of the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers.