Former Wildcat Webb scratched as starter

AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Arizona Diamondbacks scratched staff ace
Brandon Webb on Thursday in Pittsburgh because a poor weather
forecast made manager Bob Melvin hesitant to start him in a game
that might be significantly delayed.
Micah Owings (7-8), who was to have pitched Friday night at
Colorado, started Thursday afternoon's game. Webb (17-10), last
season's NL Cy Young Award winner, will start the first game of a
series against the Rockies that is important for both teams.
The Diamondbacks had two games sliced off their NL West lead
after losing Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Pittsburgh, and Melvin
wanted to avoid having to take out Webb during a possible long
weather delay.
"Hey, we can't lose this guy," Melvin said. "If he's out
there for an inning or two and we stop and we have to try to bring
him back ... "
Arizona led San Diego by one game and streaking Colorado by two
going into Thursday's play. San Diego played at Milwaukee and
Colorado played at Los Angeles in night games.
Melvin said he wouldn't have made the move if Owings (7-8) was
hesitant about moving up a day. Owings hadn't pitched since beating
San Francisco 5-0 with a two-hit shutout Sept. 18, but he gave up
11 earned runs in nine innings in two previous appearances against
Pittsburgh this season - an 11.00 ERA
Webb has never lost to the Pirates, going 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in
four career starts. Melvin said the decision was made Thursday, and
that neither pitcher was informed earlier in the week the switch
might be made.
"It just kind of developed," Melvin said. "No matter what,
you're not going to feel bad about Brandon Webb taking the mound.
The problem is if he takes the mound for only 1½, two innings and,
all of a sudden, you're in jeopardy of him missing his last start
of the season."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)