Webb (2006) and Peavy (2007) have won the last two NL Cy Young awards, and both right-handers are starting this season as if they’re intent on adding to their trophy cases. Peavy is 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA through his first five starts. Webb has been just as strong, with a 5-0 record, 2.31 ERA and a sparkling .188 opponent batting average.
However, each pitcher allowed a season high in runs in his last outing.
“It was a battle all day, pretty much,” Webb said Tuesday after giving up three runs and nine hits to San Francisco over six innings. “It was one of those days where my arm didn’t feel real live. But I ended up battling through it.”
Despite not having his best stuff, Webb got the credit for Arizona’s 4-3 victory. He also hit a two-run double to help his own cause.
“With ‘Webby’ on the mound, you expect to win all the time,” Arizona (17-7) manager Bob Melvin said.
San Diego (10-15) expects to win Peavy’s starts, too, but couldn’t do that Tuesday at Houston. The Padres’ ace allowed four runs - matching the total from his previous four outings combined - and seven hits, including two homers. He also expressed frustration about pitching at Houston’s hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park.
“It does frustrate you when a ball goes out on the front row at Williamsport,” Peavy said in a sarcastic reference to the home of the Little League World Series.
Spacious Petco Park is far more hospitable to pitchers including Peavy, who is 2-0 in three home starts this year while allowing only one run and nine hits over 24 innings there.
Webb, a sinkerballer who relies more on groundballs, has been less dominant at Petco. Arizona’s ace is 2-3 with a 3.61 ERA in eight career starts at San Diego’s ballpark, now in its fifth season.
Webb and Peavy have faced each other four times in the past, with the Diamondbacks and Padres splitting those meetings. Peavy has gone 1-0 with a 1.16 ERA in those games, while Webb is 0-1 despite a strong 3.14 ERA in their matchups.
San Diego’s struggling lineup busted out on Saturday, beating the Diamondbacks 8-7 in 13 innings to snap a season-high five-game losing streak. The eight runs were a season high at home for the Padres, who plated two more runs than in their previous five games at Petco combined.
“We know we are a better team offensively than what we’ve shown,” said San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who went 3-for-6 with three RBIs. “Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.”
The Diamondbacks, who fell to 2-2 on their five-game road trip, have suffered five of their seven losses this season away from home.
Three of San Diego’s last five home games have gone extra innings, including a 22-inning loss to Colorado on April 17 that lasted 6 hours, 16 minutes.