09/20/08 8:37 PM ET
Webb hopes high win total enough
Righty curious how voting will go for Cy Young Award
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
The D-backs right-hander is 21-7 with a 3.26 ERA with two starts left this season. It is the first time a National League pitcher has won as many as 20 games since 2005, and if he were to get to 23, he would be the first to get that many since 2002.
Yet the talk is that the Giants' Tim Lincecum is the favorite with a 17-4 record and a 2.46 ERA. Lincecum has two more starts left this year, and despite being four wins behind Webb, Lincecum does lead the league in strikeouts and his ERA is better.
Of course, numbers other than wins didn't seem to matter to NL Rookie of the Year voters in 2003. That year, Webb had Florida's Dontrelle Willis beat in ERA (2.84 to 3.30) and had 30 more strikeouts than Willis.
It was Willis, by virtue of his 14-6 record compared with Webb's 10-9 mark, who walked away with the hardware that year.
"I've kind of been on both sides of it," said Webb, who finished third in the balloting that year. "It went one way one year, and we'll find out how it goes the next. I had Dontrelle in just about every category except for wins."
Webb made it clear that he was not lobbying for himself or trying to take anything away from Lincecum. Webb is just curious as to what the criteria for the award will be.
"Do you go on strikeouts?" he asked. "I mean not everybody is going to be a strikeout pitcher. It's a good category. A half point of ERA is going to separate us probably. Is that a lot? Not really. So I don't know. We'll see."
Webb also got an up-close look at how teammate Randy Johnson lost out on the 2004 NL Cy Young Award to the Astros' Roger Clemens. Johnson was 16-14 with a 2.60 ERA that year for a team that lost 111 games. Clemens, meanwhile, was 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA for a team that won 92 games. Johnson also had more strikeouts than Clemens, 290-218, yet finished second in the balloting.
"Roger killed him in the voting," Webb said of the 140-97 margin. "And R.J. had him in every category, and it was a matter of one or two wins. R.J. should have won it. That's why you never know which way it's going to go. You don't know what they're looking at or what way it's going to go."
Co-ace Dan Haren doesn't have a vote, but if he did it would go to Webb.
"For me, I'm partial to Webby because I've watched him every time out," Haren said. "Lincecum has been absolutely dominant, and to lose only four games for a team that is that far under .500 is impressive. But it's hard to look past 21 wins right now and possibly 22 or 23. You just don't see numbers like that put up ever. With all respect to Lincecum, guys have had 2.40 or 2.50 ERAs and struck out 240, but when is the last time a guy has won over 22 games? [Webb] has been as dominant as anyone, and he's won at least 21 games for a team that's right about .500."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.