Miami (54-61) at Arizona (58-57)

  • Game info: 9:40 pm EDT Sat Aug 12, 2006
  • TV: SUN, FSAZ
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Arizona Diamondbacks hope the return of ace Brandon Webb can help them move closer to regaining first place in the NL West.

Webb is scheduled to make his first start since July 31 when Arizona continues its three-game weekend series against the Florida Marlins on Saturday.

Webb (12-4, 2.74 ERA) earned a win in his last start July 31 against the Chicago Cubs after giving up four runs, eight hits and four strikeouts over seven innings of a 15-4 rout. He missed his next start Aug. 5, with a sore shoulder.

The right-hander, who got off to an 8-0 start this season, is trying to become the National League’s first 13-game winner. He is 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in his last six starts, recording 35 strikeouts and only 10 walks and a .220 opponent batting average.

But he’s had little success against the Marlins (54-61), going 1-4 with a 6.85 ERA in four career starts. The Diamondbacks (58-57) are just 5-13 in their last 18 meetings with Florida.

Arizona managed only three hits en route to a 4-1 loss in the series opener on Friday. Damion Easley’s pinch home run in the eighth inning helped the Diamondbacks avoid being shutout for the first time since June 10, but kept them in a tie with the Padres for second place in the NL West, 1 1/2 games behind the Dodgers.

“You’ve got to give them credit but the bottom line is we didn’t come ready to play tonight,” said Diamondbacks center fielder Eric Byrnes, who was 0-for-4. “It seemed like we were going through the motions a little bit, and I’m definitely at fault.”

The loss also spoiled the debut of veteran right-hander Livan Hernandez, who gave up all four runs and 10 hits in a season-high eight innings.

“When you don’t give him much run support, it makes it a little more difficult,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. “But, boy, he was throwing the ball where he wanted to and was economical with his pitches.”

Rookie Josh Johnson, the NL’s ERA leader at 2.69—pitched seven shutout innings for his 10th win of the season, becoming just the fourth Florida rookie to reach that milestone.

“Ten wins in the big leagues my first year, I’ll take that anytime,” Johnson said.

Scott Olsen (9-5, 3.92) looks to match that achievement for the Marlins when he makes his first career start against Arizona. The left-hander is trying to rebound from just his second loss in his last 14 starts and avoid back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.

Olsen allowed four runs and eight hits with two walks and six strikeouts over 6 1-3 innings in a 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.

“I just couldn’t get ahead. I had a lot of problems throughout the game,” Olsen said. “As a pitcher, you’ve got to work through it. You’re going to make mistakes, and it’s just something that you’ve got to battle through.”

Olsen is 7-2 with a 2.89 ERA in his last 14 starts, limiting opponents to a .217 batting average.

Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera recorded his fifth straight multihit game Friday, and is betting .579 (11-for-19) with four doubles in that span. He is second in the NL with a .337 average, trailing only Pittsburgh’s Freddy Sanchez by three percentage points.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Olsen TEX vs. B. Webb TEX
12-10 Record 16-8
4.04 ERA 3.10
166 K 178
75 BB 50
1.30 WHIP 1.13

Scoreboard

Saturday, Aug 12