Beaning Justin Upton only fuels Diamondbacks’ desire

A riled Justin Upton is a motivated Justin Upton. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Facing the Cubs on Thursday night at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton popped out to end a seven-run bottom half of the first inning. Angry about leaving two men in scoring position, Upton slung his helmet, his bat and a handful of expletives. And, although they set a franchise record for most runs scored in the first inning, the D-backs were not satisfied.

This team is rabidly hungry.

And sometimes their hunger costs them. After his first-inning demonstration on Thursday, Upton was beaned with a Justin Berg fastball squarely in the middle of his back in his next trip to the plate. This was the Cubs’ way of saying, “How dare you be dissatisfied with a seven-run first inning.” But beaning Justin Upton won’t teach him anything. It won’t alter the competitive attitude of the 23-year-old right fielder. It may even stimulate his appetite.

Upton and his fiercely-competitive Arizona comrades know that such a hunger is what’s required to beat pitchers like Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt, who they beat in back-to-back days earlier this week.

Chris Young, despite being fourth in the National League in home runs and fifth in RBIs, is hopelessly hungry.

Although he’s the best-slugging catcher in the NL, Miguel Montero isn’t appeased by good numbers.

Stephen Drew, who has a better batting average and more RBIs than Troy Tulowitzki, is far from satisfied.

Same goes for Ryan Roberts and his 1.015 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and Willie Bloomquist who has more stolen bases (seven) than the Braves, Cubs and Orioles.

This is Kirk Gibson’s club indeed.


At the 15-game mark, I ran some diagnostics on the Diamondbacks. I looked at how well each part of the team was working. Ten days later, I’m realizing that I may have misdiagnosed a couple of players.

  • Ever since I dissed Ian Kennedy, he not only entered into fatherhood, but ace-hood too. One of his last two starts was a complete-game shutout versus the Phillies, in which he struck out 10. In the other, he gave up only one run and four hits to the Reds. Kennedy is 3-1 with a 4.02 ERA this season.
  • Daniel Hudson and Barry Enright have both earned wins since I bashed them. Hopefully, for D-backs fans, they too were misdiagnosed.

Looking Ahead

The D-backs have split the first two games of their four-game set with the Cubs. Tonight, Kennedy will face the Cubs’ Matt Garza, who is 0-3 with a 4.11 ERA. Tomorrow, Hudson (1-4; 5.64 ERA) faces Casey Coleman (1-1; 7.43 ERA).

Next week, the D-backs will host the Rockies for a mid-week series before going to Petco Park to play the Padres over the weekend.

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