It wasn't long ago that people were worried that manager Kirk Gibson was going to lose outfielder Justin Upton when he was benched for a pair of games at the start of June against the Colorado Rockies. At the same time the D-backs' owner and managing partner Ken Kendrick criticized Upton, calling him "an enigma" and expressing his disappointment in the fact that Upton has not developed into the star the team had hoped.
At the time of the benching on June 5, he was batting only .243.
When he returned to the lineup, the hits started coming, but he was not walking and he was not driving in runs. But you could tell he was getting a little rhythm going. He did not drive in a run for 10 games, but had 12 hits.
It was the Seattle series, though, when he started looking like Justin Upton at the plate.
He started pulling the ball with authority, driving the ball and the ball began to come off his bat like it did a year ago.
The result? Seven hits and eight RBI in the last five games, including a double and a pair of homers.
Overall in June, he is batting .313, and his average has increased 24 points since his benching to .267.
The hot bats of Aaron Hill, Jason Kubel and Miguel Montero all likely have contributed to Upton's comeback. at the same time, as Upton sits in the three hole in the lineup, if he is swinging the bat well, it then becomes easier for the rest of the guys in the lineup.
If Arizona has all of those guys clicking at the same time, you get offensive production like the team has gotten recently -- 46 runs in five games.
In general, baseball players manage to even out their numbers to match their abilities by the end of the season. We all know that Upton is better than a .267 hitter with seven homers in about half the year. This means over the next several months, we are about to see a red hot Upton with a lot more power and run production.
That is going to mean there will be a good number of wins on the horizon for the D-backs.