He's 29 years old... he has pitched in the All Star Game, the Division Series and the ALCS. He has put together 3 terrific seasons in a row. He is a millionaire many times over and will only get richer as he is the most valuable of commodities:
A True Ace.
So why not rain on his parade a little bit? He is a Cy Young Award winner. But if he even gave a mediocre performance in 2 games this season, he'd be a TWO time Cy Young Award winner. Two time Cy Young winners just need to compile numbers. Nobody can use the Don Sutton/Bert Blyleven "Was he ever an ace?" argument against a two time Cy Young winners.
You can win a Cy Young by a fluke (Helllllllo Steve Bedrosian!) But not two!
That always looks good on your resume when you start piling up numbers and make a case for the Hall of Fame. Yeah it's early, but 7 more ace seasons and we might be talking.
With the Diamondbacks ahead in the standings with a chance to be up 4 1/2 games going into September, Webb lasted 3 1/3 innings, giving up 8 hits, 6 earned runs and 2 homers with 3 strike outs.
The Dodgers took over first place for good the next week when Webb lasted 5 2/3 innings giving up 5 hits, 7 earned runs, walking 6 with another homer striking out 6.
In the end he finished with a 22-7 record with a 3.30 ERA and 183 Ks in 226 2/3 inning. A terrific year... but not as sparkly as Tim Linecum's year (18-5) 2.62 ERA, 265 K's in 227 innings)
Now what would happen if we remove those two bad starts?
Then Webb finishes 22-5 with a 2.89 ERA, 174 Ks in 217 2/3 innings. Maybe enough to win it. Certainly wouldn't have the stigma of "He blew the season" hanging over his head.
But aces are supposed to pitch the big games. Let's say he pitched those games and gave a quality start both times as quality starts are currently described. 6 innings, 3 earned runs and let's say 4 strikes outs.
Not an unreasonable request from a Cy Young candidate in a big game! And let's have him split the two games.
Then he'd be 23-6 with a 2.97 ERA, 182 Ks in 229 2/3 innings.
And maybe his team would not be as demoralized.
He'd probably have his two Cy Young awards. Not a guarantee for the Hall of Fame (helllllllo Bret Saberhagen!) but not a bad start.
If he falls just short of Cooperstown, I wonder if he'll be thinking of those two games against the Dodgers. I know I will be... but that's more a sign of my own issues.