Dodgers two-time All-Star Brad Penny is coming off his first loss in more than 2 1/2 months, but he has been outstanding against the Diamondbacks in his career.
Webb and Penny square off in Sunday’s series finale as NL West-leading Arizona tries for the three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium.
Webb (10-8, 3.08 ERA) is the NL’s reigning Cy Young Award winner, but has already matched the number of losses he totaled a year ago. The Diamondbacks’ opening day starter went 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA in four outings from July 2-20, but has bounced back from that stretch, entering this game without allowing a run in his last 15 innings.
The right-hander gave up three hits and struck out seven in seven innings of a 4-0 win over San Diego on Tuesday to win his second straight start.
Webb looks to keep his scoreless streak intact versus the Dodgers (58-52), against whom he has yielded just one run in 14 innings in winning both of his starts this season.
He has posted a 1.23 ERA in winning his last five starts over Los Angeles, which hasn’t beaten him since Sept. 7, 2004. Webb has won both of his outings at Dodger Stadium in that span, giving up just one run and six hits in 14 innings in those contests.
Penny (13-2, 2.60) is one of the front-runners for this season’s NL Cy Young Award, and is looking to move into a tie with Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia and the Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano for the major league lead in wins.
Penny gave up three runs, six hits and a season-high five walks in six innings of a 3-1 loss to San Francisco on Tuesday. He had won his last eight decisions since losing to the Los Angeles Angels on May 18.
The right-hander has excelled this season against the Diamondbacks, going 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts. Penny, who was drafted by Arizona (62-50) in the fifth round of the 1996 draft, has allowed just 12 hits over 21 innings in those games.
Penny is 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA—his lowest ERA against any opponent he has faced more than once—in 14 career starts against the Diamondbacks, and is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in four outings against them at Dodger Stadium.
The Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers 8-7 on Saturday after winning Friday’s series opener 1-0. They have not swept a three-game series at Dodger Stadium since Sept. 27-29, 2005.
“We knew this series was big, but I didn’t think this was necessarily a make-or-break series for us because there’s almost two months of baseball to play,” said Eric Byrnes, who hit his 17th homer of the season Saturday. “But to take the series in the second game, that’s big. It’s a good feeling. Hopefully we’ll come out here and play relaxed and take one more.”
Arizona remained 1 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Padres, and moved three games in front of the third-place Dodgers.
The Diamondbacks have won 12 of 14, while Los Angeles has lost 11 of 15.
“When you’re going through a spell like we’re going through right now, it’s a total team effort. We left a little bit with our pitching, we’ve left a little bit with our offense, we’ve left a little bit with our defense, and it all works together. It’s all part of what it takes to play not winning baseball,” Dodgers manager Grady Little told the team’s official Web site. “I got deep concern in all the areas I just talked about, but we just have to keep working and get turned around. We have a lot of time left.”
Nomar Garciaparra hit a three-run home run for his sixth of the season Saturday, and is batting .340 (16-for-47) with four homers and 13 RBIs in his last 14 games. Against Webb, though, Garciaparra is hitless in 13 career at-bats.