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When Upton comes around, D-backs will be scary

If I told you two weeks ago that the Arizona Diamondbacks
would win seven of their first ten games, you’d probably
believe me.

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
his big league career. In June of 2008, during his first
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.