Arizona (69-53) at Atlanta (64-57)

Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Fri Aug 17, 2007
  • TV: KTVK, SPSO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Arizona Diamondbacks are rolling, and Brandon Webb has been a big part of their recent success.

Webb will look to extend his 33-inning scoreless streak as the NL West-leading Diamondbacks open a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves Friday at Turner Field.

The Diamondbacks (69-53) have won 19 of their last 24 and each of their last eight series. They took two of three in Florida this week, including Thursday’s 5-4 victory over the Marlins.

“Move on to the next one,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Don’t think too much about the last one.”

The Diamondbacks, who took two of three from the Braves (64-57) July 27-29, swept a four-game series in their last trip to Atlanta from June 1-4, 2006.

Webb (12-8, 2.77 ERA) will try to get them off to a quick start in this trip to Turner Field. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner threw his second straight shutout on Saturday—a five-hitter in a 1-0 win over Washington—and hasn’t allowed a run since the sixth inning of a 6-2 loss to the Cubs in Chicago on July 20.

Webb, who was coming off a 3-0 win over Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 5, broke his own team record of 30 straight shutout innings—set last season.

“It’s been good having broken last year’s streak,” he told the Diamondbacks’ official team Web site. “I was kind of shooting for that, so I got that in my back pocket, so that was nice to go out there and do that, and to win the game, 1-0, was huge.”

Webb is still 26 innings shy of Orel Hershiser’s major league record of 59, established during his 1988 Cy Young campaign with the Dodgers.

“That’s probably around Cal Ripken territory,” he told the Diamondbacks’ site. “That might be one of the most difficult ones to reach.”

Webb has thrown consecutive shutouts for the second time in his career. He did it last season May 20 against Atlanta and May 26 against Cincinnati.

The only other Arizona pitcher to throw consecutive shutouts was Curt Schilling in 2003.

“The last two games he’s had as good a sinker as we’ve seen since he’s been here,” Melvin said.

Webb is 1-1 with a 1.53 ERA in four career starts against the Braves, but hasn’t faced them since the 13-0 shutout against them last season.

The Braves took two of three from San Francisco heading into the weekend, but are coming off Thursday’s 9-3 loss. The loss dropped them into third place in the NL East behind Philadelphia, but they remained 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading New York Mets.

“If we could have held them close, I’m sure we would have done a good job of coming back,” Cox said. “We just couldn’t keep it close.”

Third baseman Chipper Jones is hitting .400 (16-for-40) during a 10-game hitting streak and is 4-for-10 with a double lifetime against Webb.

In the opener, the Braves will hand the ball to Lance Cormier (0-2, 13.50), who is making his fourth start of the season. He was pounded for four runs in four-plus innings in the Braves’ 7-5 win in Philadelphia on Saturday in his first start since June 8.

Cormier, who lost twice in June, started his career with Arizona, going 8-7 in 84 appearances—five starts—for the Diamondbacks in 2004 and 2005 before a Dec. 2005 deal sent him to Atlanta.

He was battered for six runs in 1 2-3 innings of relief in the Braves’ loss to Webb on May 20, 2006, but didn’t get a decision in his only previous appearance against his former team.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Webb Tex vs. L. Cormier TB
18-10 Record 2-6
3.01 ERA 7.09
194 K 27
72 BB 22
1.19 WHIP 1.71

Scoreboard

Friday, Aug 17