Following a successful home stand, the D-backs have found themselves in legitimate pennant contention. The once insurmountable Dodgers lead has been trimmed to a mere five games. For most of the season, the math hasn’t been in the D-backs favor. The D-backs have struggled to regain their mojo from last season, while the Dodgers got off to an unexpectedly hot start. Even the most optimistic fan could see that the uphill climb may be too much to conquer.
Nonetheless, the D-backs continued to plug away and appear to have found that missing spark. The Dodgers on the other hand have cooled off considerably and come down to earth. The Dodgers have lost six of seven, while the D-backs have won five of six and are fresh off a three-game-sweep of the Cubs.
Upton on the verge
Last week was an interesting one for the the D-backs offense. There is no question that the D-backs need Justin Upton to live up to his potential if they are going to contend for a division title.
However, it was Aaron Hill whose bat lead the team during the home stand. Hill collected hit after hit throughout the week and hit for the cycle on Monday, but what happened on Tuesday may have been even more eye-opening. With two outs and runners on second and third, the Mariners intentionally walked Hill to face Upton with the bases loaded. Upton has MVP talent and should be one of the most feared bats in the big leagues. Like he has done much of the season, Upton responded by striking out. It didn’t take long for Upton to redeem himself.
On Wednesday, with a base open and no outs, Hill drew another walk. This time, Upton responded with a mammoth three-run homer. Fans have been waiting patiently for him to respond in a big situation. Maybe this is exactly what he needed to break out of the season-long slump.
The D-backs hit six home runs in the game on Wednesday tying a franchise record. The sixth was an inside-the-park variety courtesy of Ryan Roberts.
Trevor Bauer is expected to start the game on Thursday in Atlanta. This marks one of the most highly anticipated pitching debuts in franchise history. Bauer would also be slated to make his home debut next Tuesday against the Padres.
Wade Miley continues to impress and is the frontrunner to represent the team in the All-Star game. Miley has been pitching like and ace while Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson have struggled to reach expectations.
Mark your calendars for upcoming promos at Chase Field
July 4: D-backs 4th of July t-shirt giveaway to first 20,000 fans; Fireworks Night presented by Gila River Casinos, Mysteryball to benefit Pastime for Patriots.