Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pedro vs. Webb

Only slightly daunted by the washout of my last trip to Shea, I'll be taking the storied 7 train to see this matchup.

Brandon Webb is looking about as dominant as any pitcher in recent memory, and Pedro is one of the very few who can still claim to be better.

Webb's ability to induce ground balls is not just "for real," it's the realest. For every ball that clears the infield, he gets at least four wormburners. That's not a fluke. It's been over four the last two years, and for his career it's 3.8. He's given up five home runs in 82 innings, which is a little less than half what your average pitcher surrenders.

His strikeout rate is only decent, but when you can "pitch to contact" and still get guys out (not many can), you get the underappreciated benefit of a relatively lower pitch count. His last two starts were complete games of 101 and 106 pitches against the Braves and Reds, respectively.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not rooting for Brandon Webb to establish himself as one of the game's elite pitchers. I certainly would like to see him take his first loss tonight at the hands of the home team. But he's really good, and I respect that.

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