Webb Takes Mound

Two former Cy Young Award winners oppose one another in the series finale between the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants on Wednesday. Only one of those pitchers currently resembles a Cy Young winner, though.

Diamondbacks staff ace Brandon Webb looks to open a season with four straight victories for the first time in his career, while Giants ace Barry Zito tries to avoid losing four consecutive starts for the first time in his.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Arizona -163 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 74% of bets for this game have been placed on Arizona –163 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.

After winning the NL Cy Young Award in 2006, Webb (3-0, 2.14 ERA) went on to win a career-high 18 games last season.

The right-hander has gotten off to a stellar start for Arizona (10-4) this season, striking out 17 while holding opponents to a .160 batting average in 21 innings over three starts.

On Friday, Webb gave up two runs, four hits and struck out six in eight innings of an 8-2 victory over Colorado to stay perfect. He also opened the 2005 season with three straight victories, but has never started a season with four wins in a row.

While Webb appears to be well on his way to another outstanding season, the same cannot be said about Zito (0-3, 4.50).

Zito won the AL Cy Young Award in 2002 with Oakland while compiling a 23-5 record, but has never won more than 16 games since.

Zito signed a $126 million, seven-year contract with San Francisco (6-9) before last season, and in 2007 he posted a career-worst 4.53 ERA, while going 11-13 - the first losing record of his eight-year career.

He's also gotten off to a rough start to this season - striking out just six in 16 innings over three starts - and opponents are batting .338.

Zito gave up four runs - one earned - and seven hits in six innings of an 8-2 loss to St. Louis on Friday, remaining winless on the season. The left-hander also opened the 2005 season with three consecutive losses, but he has never suffered four losses in as many starts at any point in his career.

Zito went 1-2 with a 3.93 ERA in three starts against the Diamondbacks last season, and is 2-3 with a 2.73 ERA in five career starts.

Webb went 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against the Giants in 2007, and is 4-0 with a 2.96 ERA in seven starts against them since 2006. He is 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA in nine starts at AT&T Park.

In the only other meeting between Webb and Zito on July 2, 2006, in Oakland, Webb threw a four-hitter in a 3-1 victory.

After losing 5-4 in Monday's series opener, the Diamondbacks won 8-2 on Tuesday, spoiling the Giants' 50th anniversary of their first game played in San Francisco.

Arizona first baseman Conor Jackson homered in his second straight game Tuesday, while Chris Young hit his fifth of the season.

The Diamondbacks lead the majors with 89 runs scored and 24 home runs.

"There's really not a weak link in the lineup,'' Young said. "It's going to be a battle for any team to get through us easy. We're going to go up there and work hard every at-bat, so that when some guys are struggling you're going to have other guys to pick you up.''

Eric Byrnes is batting .424 (14-for-33) with nine runs scored in his last eight games, but is just 1-for-15 (.067) with five strikeouts lifetime against Zito.

San Francisco's John Bowker, who became the first Giants player to homer in his first two games last weekend, hit his first career triple Tuesday. Bowker is 6-for-10 with seven RBIs in his first three major league games.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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