Notes: Webb's next start up in air
Upton gets the start in right; Melvin mixes and matches lineup
PHOENIX -- It's unlikely that it will happen, but Bob Melvin did hold open the possibility that he could bring ace Brandon Webb back on three days of rest for Game 4.
Right now, rookie Micah Owings is scheduled to take the ball Sunday and in all likelihood, that's how it will remain. Melvin, though, was asked if the fact that Webb threw just 89 pitches in a seven-inning Game 1 effort meant that it could happen.
"I'm with Owings right now," Melvin said. "Anything can change over the course of whatever happens."
What could change?
"Anything can change, I'm just not even prepared to even go there yet," Melvin said. "We're on today's game."
There are a couple of factors that seem to indicate that Melvin wouldn't bring Webb back on short rest. For one thing, he's resisted doing that at any point during this season and Webb has thrown a career-high 236 1/3 innings, which led the National League.
"That's a lot of innings," Melvin said.
And even if the D-backs were down two games to one going into Game 4 and Webb were to win it, they'd still need to win a Game 5 to advance.
The Cubs have already said they planned on bringing their Game 1 starter, Carlos Zambrano, back on just three days' rest to start Sunday.
But the Cubs' fourth starter, Jason Marquis, struggled down the stretch, while Owings was lights-out in his final two starts of the regular season as he tossed 15 1/3 scoreless innings.
"Sometimes you don't know," Melvin said as to why he didn't just say Webb will not pitch Sunday. "You don't know how you feel at times. It depends on how you get there, a lot of variables leading up to it, and that's as honest as I can be."
Not going there: Melvin was asked to weigh in on Cubs manager Lou Piniella's controversial decision to remove Zambrano after six innings in Game 1.
"I have a tough enough time managing my club," Melvin said. "He knows what he's doing over there. I'll handle my club. He does a good job handling his."
Young gun: With left-hander Ted Lilly on the mound for the Cubs, rookie Justin Upton got the start in right field Thursday.
Upton, who turned 20 near the end of August, began the year at Class A Visalia before being promoted to Double-A Mobile on May 14. With outfielder Carlos Quentin injured, the D-backs purchased his contract Aug. 2 and he became the youngest player in franchise history at 19 years, 342 days.
"I've played with these guys for a while now," said Upton, who was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 Draft. "There's no reason to be nervous now."
Upton's nerves were helped by the fact that he got so see all the hoopla surrounding Game 1, so he knows a little more what to expect now.
Speaking of the lineup: Melvin will continue throughout the series to mix-and-match with his lineup at first base and right field, and don't expect to hear any complaining in the clubhouse.
"No one in here complains about playing time," outfielder Eric Byrnes said. "The reason for that is Tony Clark. If anyone has a reason to complain, it's him, and he never does, so no one else is going to."
Clark and Jackson alternated playing time in September with Jackson hitting .326 with four homers and 14 RBIs, and Clark checking in at .315 with six homers and 17 RBIs.
Be a part of the NLDS Mailbag
|Who's going to win this series? Who's the best player? Why'd the manager make that move? If game stories and features aren't enough for you and you want more, e-mail MLB.com's Corey Brock at email@example.com. After the game, before it, even while the action is going on. Send in your question (make sure the subject line contains NLDS Mailbag), and Brock will answer selected queries in a mailbag right here on MLB.com.|
"Both swung the bat good in September, so it's difficult at times not to put either one of them in the game," Melvin said. "To their credit, they're all about winning right now."
And with the leadership of Clark, Byrnes and Orlando Hudson, along with the culture Melvin has established in the clubhouse, any possible dissatisfaction with playing time would likely be handled quickly and quietly.
"I think the way it's played out, that if someone did have a problem, it probably wouldn't even get to me," Melvin said. "That there'd be someone sitting right next to them that says, 'Is this about you? I don't think so.'"
Running: After saying it would be tough to steal on Zambrano, Melvin had leadoff man Chris Young running in the first inning of Game 1.
"We were just trying to be aggressive," Melvin said. "You know you have a guy on the mound where runs are going to be at a premium, it's tough to string hits together on him, kind of the feeling was we needed to be aggressive early on. That's the way we've played, and that's the way we wanted to try to handle the first inning."
Bringing back the curse: In an effort to remind Cubs fans of their past playoff troubles, a promotions coordinator for the D-backs' flagship radio station brought a pair of goats to the concourse area outside Chase Field before Game 2 of the NLDS.KTAR's Curtis Smith rented the goats for the day from Phoenix mobile petting zoo "Karen's Critters" and named the animals Ted Lilly and Derrek Lee for Chicago's respective starting pitcher and first baseman. "We're bringing the curse to the Cubs," Smith said. The Curse of the Billy Goat began when a man and a goat were kicked out of Wrigley Field during the franchise's last World Series in 1945 because of the goat's odor, and legend has it the Cubs have been cursed ever since. Although the goats outside Chase Field brought a similar smell, Smith said fans enjoyed the sight of the animals. "It's all in good fun," he said. "Both sides have been laughing." Coming up: Game 3 of the NLDS will be played on Saturday at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Right-hander Livan Hernandez will face lefty Rich Hill in the 3 p.m. MST start.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.