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Did Kendrick’s comments light a fire under D-backs?

Last week was a strange one for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

It started with managing general partner Ken Kendrick
making some strong statements regarding his frustration
with injured shortstop Stephen Drew and enigmatic right
fielder Justin Upton.

Kendrick feels Drew should be further along in his
rehabilitation from a broken right ankle suffered last
July and that the D-backs should be getting more
production from Upton, who finished fourth in the National
League MVP voting last season.

The comments in question were made on Tuesday, as the
Diamondbacks had dipped to 25-30 after being shut out 4-0
by the Colorado Rockies Monday night.

Since then, Arizona is 5-0 and playing its best baseball
of the season. Their current winning streak, which
includes a three-game sweep of the Oakland A’s, has the
Diamondbacks at 30-30 — the first time they’ve been .500
or better since May 5.

So did the boss man’s comments have anything to do with
the fire this team has played with over the last six days?

“I don’t think so,” left fielder Jason Kubel said Sunday.
“We all knew it wasn’t going well at the time, but it’s
just a different feeling around here. We have a little
more confidence and we know what we can do.”

Kubel has played like a man possessed in his last four
games, hitting .500 (9-for-18) with two home runs, six
runs scored and a whopping 12 runs batted in.

Center fielder Chris Young, who’s hitting a healthy .357
since Kendrick’s outburst, also says the timing of the D-
backs’ turnaround is probably just a coincidence.

“We have the character on this team to go out there and
throw it all out there every day,” he said. “Sometimes it
doesn’t correlate to your wins and losses but we’re
putting it all out there every day, and we’re going to
continue to do that.”

They’ll have to. After an off-day Monday, the
Diamondbacks hit the road for a 6-game interleague road
trip against the first-place Texas Rangers and the red-hot
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The two-time defending
American League champion Rangers lead all of baseball in
runs scored (322), while the Halos have gone 14-4 since
May 22.