SAN DIEGO - Despite watching Brandon Lyon allow 10 earned runs in his previous 5 1/3 innings, Arizona manager Bob Melvin said he has no intention of removing him from the closer's role he's held all season.
"At this point in time, today, he will close," Melvin said Monday, after Lyon gave up three doubles and two runs in Sunday's ninth inning to the Marlins, turning a tight 3-2 game into an easier 5-2 Florida win.
Melvin's logic is simple: He stuck with every other struggling member of the Arizona bullpen through their troubles - and that was while Lyon was throwing up zeroes. Now, Lyon has allowed a run in five of six appearances, so Melvin will cut him similar slack.
The same goes for setup man Jon Rauch, who would be the leading candidate to replace Lyon if he weren't struggling as well. Chad Qualls and Tony Pena have overcome their problems and are now pitching well, but Arizona can't get all the pistons to fire at once.
"He's an integral part for us and he's the only one (in the bullpen) that, other than the first weekend of the season, hasn't struggled at all until this stretch here," Melvin said. "I have to show confidence in (Rauch) too. It would be easy, with our depth, to just say 'all right, let's back these guys off and put Tony Pena in the ninth and Chad Qualls in the eighth. But if I had done that earlier with those guys, too, who knows where we'd be now?
"I think (Lyon has) earned the chance to go out there in a save situation, especially with the results he's gotten for us on the road. He's a guy who's been real good for me over the course of the season."
WEBB READY TO GO
After going through a few painful days after taking a Kevin Kouzmanoff line drive off his chest Thursday against San Diego, Brandon Webb pronounced himself ready to go for his 20th win Tuesday.
"The last two days have been a lot better," said Webb, who is sporting a nasty bruise and isn't shy about showing it off. "It's still a little sore to the touch, but it's not terrible. I've thrown every day, but for a couple of days I couldn't run ... the jarring from running aggravated it a little bit. It's nothing that's going to get worse or anything like that."
Though not big on personal statistics - "I'm trying to win seven more because we're in a pennant race" - Webb admitted that getting to the 20-win plateau is a big deal.
"It's a big number and not many people reach that," he said. "It will be the biggest win for personal goals that I've had. It will be nice to be always considered a 20-game winner, like it was nice to be known as a Cy Young winner."
Webb has two starts left in August - he will close out the Dodgers series on Sunday - giving him two chances to become just the sixth pitcher since 1990 to win 20 games before Sept. 1.
That list includes Roger Clemens, who did it twice (1990 with Boston and 1997 with Toronto), Oakland's Bob Welch (1990), Jack McDowell of the Chicago White Sox (1993), Atlanta's John Smoltz (1996) and Arizona's Curt Schilling (2002).
The Diamondbacks have created an all-you-can-eat section for six of the remaining home games, beginning Saturday against the Dodgers. Fans who pay $20 ($25 for Saturday games) for an upper-level seat will be able to eat unlimited hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, peanuts, soda and bottled water from the time the gates open through the seventh inning. The other five games are Sept. 1 (Cardinals, $20), Sept. 13 (Reds, $25), Sept. 15 (Giants, $20), Sept. 17 (Giants, $20) and Sept. 27 (Rockies, $25). ...
Due to the off day Thursday, Arizona will skip Yusmeiro Petit in the rotation despite a strong performance and win over Florida on Saturday. Doug Davis, Dan Haren and Webb will pitch against the Dodgers. ...
After going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts Saturday, Justin Upton was given Sunday off in Tucson and isn't likely to be recalled before the rosters expand to 40 on Sept. 1.
"The injury isn't the problem anymore," Melvin said. "He's still feeling his way and he needs to get some consistent at-bats and some confidence coming back."