Brandon Webb ... Strikes a Chord

September 23, 2007

IN JULY reigningNational League Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb, 28, lost three consecutivedecisions to fall to 8--8. His response? Forty-two straight scoreless inningsand six straight wins. With a 16--10 record and a 2.99 ERA through Sunday, thesinkerballing Webb, a self-described "country boy" from Ashland, Ky.,is in the hunt for another Cy Young—and had the Diamondbacks leading the NLWest.

On winning lastyear's Cy Young Award
I was at home in the garage cleaning up, when one of the baseball writerscalled. My wife [Alicia] answered, and we were yelling and screaming. Then wegot another call and were told that we had to roll out to Arizona in two hoursfor press conferences. It was a hassle, but you know, I wouldn't mind doing itagain.

His scorelessstreak
There was definitely a lot of luck involved. When the ball was hit hard, it wasalways hit at somebody, and our defense was incredible. The guys were like,"I'm feeling some pressure. I don't want to screw this up." And so theywere bearing down on every pitch.

The streakending
In some ways I was relieved. I don't like the limelight. Things are back tonormal now.

On playingguitar, which he does in the clubhouse before starts
In high school I picked up this video that showed you where to put yourfingers, showed you different chords. I studied that thing, man. The songs wereridiculous, like When the Saints Go Marching In. To this day, when I hear that,I picture the guy in that video.

On pitching a2006 spring training game hours after daughter, Reagan, his only child, wasborn
She came a little after a midnight. That morning everyone was sleeping, so Iwas like, Hey, I might as well shoot over and pitch. I still had to wear thatbracelet they give the dads so you can go into the nursery, but once I got onthe mound, I did decent. That's what they tell me, anyway. I hardly remember athing.

Life inAshland
Quiet. We stick around the house or go see family. If we want to go to a nicerestaurant, we drive 20 minutes into West Virginia, to Huntington. At home Idon't get recognized a whole lot, or if I do people are low-key. That's nice.In Phoenix it's totally the opposite.

A favoritepastime
I've got seven acres in Kentucky, three acres fenced in. I have a pretty sweetlawn mower, and I like going out and relaxing and mowing. It takes an hour,hour and a half. I don't even know what I think about out there.

On 2004, hissecond season, when he led the NL in losses (16) and walks (119) as Arizonalost 111 games
Painful. I started trying to be too fine, to pitch around contact and strikeeverybody out. I finally learned you've got to let them hit the ball. Beaggressive.

His signaturesinker
People ask my secret. There is no secret. It's all arm action. You either haveit or you don't. Even I'm surprised sometimes the way the ball moves. In '03 or'04 a batter swung at a pitch and it hit him in the chest.

On batters'tendency to foul off the sinker onto their foot or ankle
I don't feel pity. They're trying to kill me out there. When they're down inthe dirt, it's like, Yeeah, got 'em.

PHOTOPHOTOGRAPH BY JASON WISE PHOTOSCOTT WACHTER/ICON SMI (WEBB ACTION)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)