Brandon Webb, Dan Haren give Diamondbacks potent 1-2 punch Print
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Monday, 18 February 2008 00:42
MLB Headline News

 TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -Several years ago, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling gave Arizona a 1-2 pitching punch that was one of the game's best, and led the Diamondbacks to a World Series title in 2001.
Brandon Webb and Dan Haren cannot be compared to that duo, at least not yet. However, they bring a potent 1-2 combination at the top of the rotation.
``They accomplished a little bit more than we have at this point in our career,'' Webb said on Sunday. ``If we could duplicated anywhere close to what they did, that would be pretty sweet.''
The Diamondbacks acquired Haren from the Oakland A's for six prospects in December. He said he's quickly becoming comfortable with his new surroundings.
``I think when I came from St. Louis to Oakland I was a little bit more uncomfortable coming into the clubhouse,'' he said. ``It's hard. It's just like getting transferred in school. The guys have been more open than I remember guys being in Oakland.''
an League last year and finished the season 15-9 with a 3.07 ERA in 34 starts spanning 223 innings. Webb, 28, was 18-10 with a 3.01 ERA in 34 starts - going 236 1-3 innings.
Asked if the two can feed off each other, manager Bob Melvin used Schilling and Johnson as an example. Melvin was manager Bob Brenly's bench coach when the two went a combined 90-24 in the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
``They had their best seasons if you want to call it feeding off each other, competing against each other, pushing each other,'' Melvin said.
Haren agrees that competition with fellow starters is a good thing.
``I think that pitching is just as contagious as hitting,'' he said. ``Say Webb goes out and throws seven scoreless (innings), I'm going to want to go out there and do just that. And then if I go out and do that the next guy is going to want to do that. ``
Haren joins Webb, Johnson - if he's healthy - and lefty Doug Davis as former opening day starters who pitch for Arizona. Young right-hander Micah Owings rounds out the projected Diamondbacks rotation.
``With a good, solid group like this, I think we can go on several rolls where you win a bunch of games,'' Haren said. ``I've always been surrounded by good pitching, but it has not been this good top to bottom.''
The strength, though, is at the top, and Haren balks at the notion that he shares No. 1 billing with Webb.
``I'm just here to help us maybe get to the next level and help us be a better team,'' he said. ``But this is his team. He's been doing it here for years. He's won a Cy Young here. He's the leader of the staff. I think everyone looks up to him.''
The low-keyed Webb has no trouble sharing the billing. He welcomes someone else to chew up innings, and he's comfortable with what's expected of him.
``I feel good,'' he said. ``I know what I have to do. I pretty much tried to do my job the last couple of years and did well, so I should know what I need to do.''
 

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