The Arizona Diamondbacks lost to the St. Louis on Monday night, but that was not the biggest story. What was an interesting move was that when Mike Zagurski came into the game, Justin Upton was benched as part of a double switch.
What is the big deal with that?
Well, when it happened, the D-backs were down 7-0. Upton has long been considered the team's most important bat in the lineup. That would not be a guy you want to take out of the lineup.
So why did Upton get the rest of the night off?
Kirk Gibson said it was about the pitching situation. "With Justin, we knew where our pitching was," said Gibby. "Just start counting innings and didn't have a choice there really."
It is true that the team had to look ahead to the number of innings the relievers would pitch. But it has to go further than that. Previously in the game, Upton left runners stranded in scoring position, including Gerardo Parra on third base with nobody out.
"We had some opportunities, certainly in the first inning. Been a little frustrated recently at those opportunities," explained Gibson. "It would have been good to get that run in the first inning."
Upton, with those two failed at-bats, saw his average when batting with runners in scoring position drop to under .100. Clearly he is pressing.
So no matter what Gibson says, it goes deeper.
You would never see Albert Pujols pulled in a double switch, no matter the situation . Upton is clearly not near Pujols in terms of ability and clutch performance, but when the team is down by seven runs, the one thing that is needed is bats.
Now at 2-22 on the year with runners in scoring position, Upton needs to get out of his slump. The team needs run production on the worst way. If this type of play continues, it will not be long before fans start taking notice that he hasn't been that superstar we all want him to be.
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