When Upton comes around, D-backs will be scary
If I told you two weeks ago that the D-backs would go 7-3 in their first ten without getting an RBI from Justin Upton, you'd think I was mad.
But that's exactly what's happened.
Upton, picked by many to win this year's National League MVP Award, is in one of the worst run-producing slumps of his big league career. In June of 2008, during his first full year in the league, Upton endured a 14-game RBI-less stretch and had just two runs batted in for the entire month, while hitting .123.
Not surprisingly, the D-backs went 11-16 that month. That team wasn't equipped to deal with prolonged droughts from their key players. That's one of the reasons why they couldn't hold off Manny Ramirez and the hard-charging Dodgers to win the division crown. Of course, Upton's injury that sidelined him for much of July and August was a huge factor too.
The difference four years later is that the current D- backs squad can withstand stretches like this from key players and still win. Their starting pitching is better, as is their bullpen (2.23 ERA through 10 games). Their depth is the envy of most big league teams. If someone struggles, another picks up the slack and expects the same when a slump comes calling upon them.
Of course it doesn't hurt that Upton's outfield neighbor, Chris Young, is off to the best start by any baseball player not named Matt Kemp.
So imagine how scary this team will be when Upton does start producing, because it's only a matter of time. The 24-year-old right fielder has shown the propensity to get really hot for stretches where he's capable of carrying a team. Does anybody remember June/July of last season?
Justin Upton will be fine.
And when he's fine, the D-backs will be frightening.