The Arizona Diamondbacks are a talented team that has underachieved all season. Now, with less than a third of the season left to play, they are starting to play like a team with something to prove.
Sure, it's a case of "too little, too late," but it's . . . something. On Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, Doug Davis was sharp, Stephen Drew showed flashes of his breakout 2008 season, and the D-Backs are beating the teams they should as they march toward respectability. Since Mark Reynolds called out his teammates on July 3 for their lack of effort and mental lapses, the D-Backs are 18-11. Yes, they're on a roll.
With the D-Backs beating the Pirates 4-3 on Wednesday, they are now 49-59, the first time they've been as few as 10 games under. 500 since they beat the Kansas City Royals on June 18.
It wasn't all good news for the D-Backs, though. With the score 4-2 and All-Star Justin Upton on first, the young right fielder attempt to steal second base before stopping short halfway between first and second and doubling over in pain. The team said after the game that Upton strained his right oblique. He'll get the day off Thursday in the season finale and will be evaluated. Upton appeared to be in severe pain, and a trip to the disabled list is a distinct possibility. That would be a shame because Upton, a future superstar, is having a great year (.301, 20 HR, 66 RBI, 68 runs, 15 stolen bases) in his first full season in the league.
Meanwhile, Doug Davis pitched seven innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits and two walks. He also struck out five Pirates en route to lowering his season ERA to 3.67. Drew hit a huge two-run single up the middle in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie. Today, the D-Backs will finish their series with the Pirates before heading to D.C. to open a three-game series with the lowly but hot-hitting Nationals. Here's today's match-up in the series finale:
Max Scherzer (6-6, 3.80 ERA, 115 strikeouts in 111.1 innings pitched) vs. Kevin Hart (3-1, 2.60), 4:05 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. Info: www.dbacks.com