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Burns & Gambo

Updated May 10, 2012 - 6:13 pm

Bottom line: Upton’s gotta get going

The time has come. No more excuses. Justin Upton has to
put this Arizona Diamondbacks team on his back and carry
them. He may be only 24-years-old, but he has played in
the major leagues since 2007, he has over 600 games and
over 2,200 at-bats on his resume. The Arizona Diamondbacks
are struggling to win baseball games and Upton is off to
an awful start through the first six weeks. He is hitting
.235 with three home runs and nine runs batted in. And
frankly that is unacceptable for a player of his caliber.

The first thing Upton needs to do is get in the cage with
Don Baylor and fix all the holes in his swing and stop
giving away at-bats. Right now his inability to hit with
runners in scoring position is killing this team. He has
just two hits in 22 at-bats with runners in scoring
position, which is .091.

Nothing was more evident of his struggles with runners on
base then during Monday night’s 9-6 loss to the Cardinals.
In the bottom of the first inning after falling behind 3-
0, Gerrado Parra tripled leading off the inning. Upton
then proceeded to strike out and Parra was eventually left
stranded at third. Upton has to get that run in, somehow,
someway. And he doesn’t need a base hit to do it. Too many
times this year Upton has failed to get runs across the
plate in crucial situations.

But the time to end this slump is right now. And although
the lineup has experience, it is Upton who has the ability
to carry it for a week to ten days and get Arizona back on
track. He needs to shorten up his swing and drive the
ball. He needs to get hot because if he gets hot it
changes the entire lineup and the way opposing pitchers
approach it.

Upton can strike fear into a pitcher. He can hit for
power, as evidenced by his 31 homers last year. When he’s
right, his presence makes everyone else in the lineup

Right now Upton is an easy out. There is no fear when he
comes to the plate, no reason to pitch around him. And
that has to change. Because this team ultimately goes as
Upton goes. Other players can get hot at times and have a
good season, but no one player can affect the game
offensively as much as Upton with his combination of power
and speed.


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