Diamondbacks starter Brandon Webb hasn’t appeared in a major league game since September of 2009 due to ongoing shoulder troubles and isn’t close to returning this season. But he did finally make a bit of progress on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
Webb fired a 30-pitch bullpen session at the sudden request of Arizona pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. and told reporters afterward that he is finally beginning to see “a little light at the end of the tunnel.” It was the first time he had toed a pitching rubber in close to three months and he felt no pain or discomfort.
The 31-year-old right-hander owns a 3.27 career ERA, a 1.24 career WHIP and an 87-62 lifetime record. To say he’s been successful through his first seven professional seasons would be an understatement, but many are beginning to compare his injury-related fall from grace to that of Mark Mulder’s. Let’s hope that kind of talk turns out to be premature. Mulder, 32, is currently without a team.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.