The Weekend Buzz while you were busy leaping onto the Tampa Bay Rays' bandwagon:
|Justin Upton's strong start to '08 has only helped the surging D-Backs. (Getty Images)|
The Diamondbacks lead the majors with a 3.04 ERA and, way over there on the side, slowly emerging from his second back surgery in two years, is Randy Johnson. The Big Unit won Friday night's series opener here, owns a 2.70 ERA after his first three outings -- and all the Diamondbacks really need from him is to be a No. 4 starter.
A No. 5, perhaps, once Doug Davis returns from thyroid cancer surgery -- which, according to doctors, might be anywhere from four-to-six weeks away.
"It's different this year than any year I've been here," says Webb, the NL's 2006 Cy Young winner whose current 6-0 record is baseball's best. "In the past, we've had one-two punches with R.J. and I. And Javier Vazquez, I had him one year.
"But having these guys -- me, Danny, R.J. and Micah -- it's outstanding. We've got four or five guys who are throwing lights out right now."
And that isn't even manager Bob Melvin's favorite part.
"We felt real good about our pitching coming in with Haren (who started last year's All-Star Game for the AL and was acquired from Oakland over the winter) and Chad Qualls (the setup man who was acquired from Houston)," Melvin says. "Last year, we won with pitching and defense. But we couldn't have expected the offense that we've gotten this year.
"I was looking at some offensive numbers today and was shocked at how many runs we've scored. It's us and the Cubs."
Indeed, the Diamondbacks, whom everybody said won the NL West in a fluke last year because opponents outscored them, have outscored their opponents 148-93 this season. The plus-55 margin leads the majors. The Cubs are second at plus-40.
Despite their sluggish offensive season in 2007, the Diamondbacks spent the offseason concentrating on acquiring even more pitching, instead of hitting. General manager Josh Byrnes banked on three things: That a really young team would continue to mature and, in particular, that shortstop Stephen Drew wouldn't hit .238 with only 12 homers again as he did in '07 (so far: .269 with three homers and eight RBI) and that, unlike last season, the Diamondbacks wouldn't have the worst offensive numbers of any right-field combination in baseball.
So far, right fielder Justin Upton, just 20, is rewarding the club's confidence in him: Though he didn't play Sunday because of what's being described as a hamstring cramp, Upton is off to a roaring start at .333 with five homers, 14 RBI and a .376 on-base percentage.