Saving Webb already pays off for D-backs
Arizona's Bob Melvin is the National League's Manager of the Year front-runner because of his ability to stay calm amid turbulent times, delegate authority to his coaches and create a comfortable environment in which both veterans and rookies can thrive. Grady Little, please take note.But when all is said and done, Melvin's biggest judgment call of the season might have been Doppler-related. The Diamondbacks arrived at Pittsburgh's PNC Park for a Thursday matinee facing a quandary. They had staff ace Brandon Webb ready to go against the Pirates. But the weather forecast was iffy, and a Webb cameo followed by a lengthy rain delay could have made hash of their rotation.
|For more on the races, see Hunt for October.|
|• Washington at Philadelphia, 7:05 ET
• Chicago at Cincinnati, 7:10 ET
• Florida at New York, 7:10 ET
• San Diego at Milwaukee, 8:05 ET
• Arizona at Colorado, 8:05 ET
|For more on today's big games, see Diamond Daily and probables.|
Catching the D-Train
The Mets play host to Florida this weekend, and they appear to have the edge in the first two pitching matchups. The Mets send Oliver Perez to the mound against Byung-Hyun Kim in the series opener, and throw John Maine against Marlins rookie Chris Seddon on Saturday.
• Give credit to the Cardinals, who could have played out the string after a recent nine-game losing streak killed their season. First St. Louis beat Milwaukee in their series finale Wednesday, getting Brewers manager Ned Yost suspended in the process through a beanball war. Then the Cardinals boarded a plane for a meaningless (for them) makeup game Thursday in New York and put the clamps on a shockingly lifeless Mets team. The Cardinals already were looking at Joel Pineiro as a No. 4 or No. 5 starting candidate for next season, and he might have removed all doubt with his performance in St. Louis' 3-0 victory.• The Cubs can't complain about bad luck or curses this week. With a chance to put away the Brewers, Chicago allowed Florida to record its first three-game sweep at home all season. Now the Cubs travel to Cincinnati to play a Reds team that's missing Ken Griffey Jr. (groin strain) and Adam Dunn (knee surgery), not to mention Josh Hamilton (hamstring). Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is due: He's hitting .217 with no homers in 15 games against the Cubs this season. • It's a big weekend for pitchers in search of redemption. Brewers starter Chris Capuano, trying to win for the first time since May 7, fills in for Ben Sheets on Friday night against San Diego. Mark Redman, who pitched miserably with Atlanta earlier this season, will start for Colorado on Saturday. And Adam Eaton, who's given the Phillies one quality start (six innings or more, three earned runs or less) in his past 15 appearances, gets the nod against Washington's Matt Chico on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. • The Angels are 12-13 this month, and they've dropped four of their past five to cede the honor of the American League's best record to Boston or Cleveland, but here's one positive sign: Workhorse reliever Scot Shields has allowed one earned run in his past five innings and shown signs of overcoming his recent problems. The Angels are going to need Shields if they plan to go deep into October. "He's very athletic, and when he's right, he's really able to command the ball,'' said a scout. "But a lot of things can go wrong with his delivery. There's some maintenance to it.''