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Adjustments key for improved Webb

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MIAMI -- Marlins right-hander Ryan Webb calls pitching a job of continuous adjustments.

Webb's ERA jumped from 3.20 in 2011 to 4.03 last season. The reliever struck out 44 batters - 13 more than the year before. Fifteen of the 72 hits (20.8 percent) Webb allowed did not leave the infield. At one point, he was sent down to Triple-A New Orleans.

The 27-year-old entered Wednesday night with the longest hitless streak -- 10 1/3 innings -- by a reliever in the big leagues. It ended on Joey Votto's leadoff single off Webb in the seventh inning. It marked the third-longest streak in club history.

Webb came into Wednesday leading the National League and ranked third in the Majors in opponents' batting average (.111). His ERA is 1.71 through 15 appearances.

"I'm trying to make every pitch count," Webb said. "I'm still pitching to contact, but trying to make better quality pitches when I need to. If I'm going to miss, try not to miss over the plate."

An offseason goal for the reliever was to pitch more to the corner of the zone and limit those bloop hits. So far, his slider has complemented his fastball.

"Having two pitches going opposite ways to both sides of the plate is definitely an advantage," Webb said. "When I was first coming up, I was really just trying to throw the ball as hard as I could down the middle, and I had movement and let the ball move.

"This year, I've been a little more mindful of working the corners in and out. If I'm going to miss, miss where I'm trying to go with the pitch and set up the next pitch. Instead of relying on good stuff, really using pitching to my advantage as well."

Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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