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Shutdown reliever Webb aims to limit walks

Shutdown reliever Webb aims to limit walks

CHICAGO -- Daniel Webb's rookie season has been a success, despite Kansas City getting to him for three runs on five hits in the ninth inning of Saturday's 9-1 loss.

The 24-year-old reliever, dubbed the White Sox closer of the future, had a scoreless streak of 10 innings come to an end Thursday against the Tigers and has a 3.00 ERA over his last 12 innings, up from 0.82 over 11 as a result his outing against the Royals. Webb features a 3.00 ERA overall and a .233 opponents' batting average, accomplishing these feats pitching in every role from late innings to long relief.

Webb's primary flaw has been too many free passes. Webb leads all pure Major League relievers in walks with 22, one more than the Marlins' A.J. Ramos. But Webb is encouraged by the fact that the wildness does not come from any sort of mechanics issue.

"It has a lot to do with my secondary pitches," Webb said. "I haven't been throwing them for strikes and guys are taking them for balls. I'm getting deep in counts. For a while, it seemed like everybody I faced, it was a full count. That's kind of hurt me a little bit.

"That's just a fact with secondary pitches, where I need to start them to get them to stay in the strike zone, and it's not anything mechanical so that's good. I feel good and sound mechanically."

Webb walked 16.2 percent of batters faced entering Saturday, with the Major League average checking in at 8.0, per frangraphs.com. He also has stranded 85.2 percent of baserunners allowed, again per fangraphs.

"Being my first long period of time in the big leagues, it has been great," Webb said. "Just like every pitcher, no matter how long you have been up here, you are going to have your games you wish you didn't have. I've got some good games, some high points in the season and some lows. It has been a good season."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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