I apologize for not having this post up yesterday, like I promised. Got busy at work and did not make it home till very late. None the less, here is the chat that I had with Christopher Czar of the fine Arizona Diamondbacks Fansided site, Venom Strikes.
(Should be noted that Chris answered these questions before the first game of the series.)
Ehsan: The Diamondbacks, picked by many experts, including myself, not that I consider myself an expert, picked Arizona to win the NL West. Why have they not lived up to that billing yet? Any concerns going forward?
Chris: The D-Backs got derailed by injuries early. They started out extremely well, but as soon as Chris Young went to the DL–and Justin Upton was bothered by a thumb injury–they hid a skid. They also have their #2 starter (Daniel Hudson) on the DL, and shortstop Stephen Drew has been out for almost a year. Especially with the injuries, there has to be concerns. The Dodgers have been a surprise, the Rockies are better and the Giants are still the Giants, so the NL West is looking tougher than thought.
Ehsan: Justin Upton is one of the brightest young stars in baseball, is he in anyway related to Kate Upton? I know they are of different races, but just wondering. On the serious side, can Upton win MVP this season?
Chris: That reminds me of a piece I saw on some MLB show. They polled MLB players on who the most popular Upton was and Kate blew away Justin and BJ. He’s definitely a long show for the MVP with how he started, .240, 1 HR, 1 RBI. In all honesty, I picked Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. He’s looking like a smart pick now.
Ehsan: What are your early impression on the D-Backs rotation? Will they be able to carry the D-Backs to the promised land?
Chris: The rotation has been up and down. Joe Saunders is pitching well, Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill have been OK overall, Daniel Hudson is injured and Josh Collmenter has been terrible. It’s only a matter of time before top prospect Trevor Bauer (0.40 ERA as a starter in the minors) gets a shot. There’s concerns with the rotation, but if Kennedy and Cahill rebound, they’re talented enough to carry the team.
Ehsan: Which pitching match-ups are you looking forward to see in this upcoming series? Which pitcher/hitter match-up?
Chris: Today’s match-up is intriguing. Zambrano and Saunders are two overlooked pitchers who are better than people think. Zambrano is just a lighting rod for controversy and Saunders is normally in someone’s shadow so it’ll be interesting to see who step up. I’m a big Josh Johnson fan and I’m really looking forward to see the struggling Paul Goldschmidt does against him–unless Kirk Gibson opts to sit him. Goldschmidt needs to rebound pretty quickly.
Ehsan: Make your predictions for the series. Will the Diamondbacks steal a series in Miami? Who will be the player of the series and who will be the goat?
Chris: I’d say a close 2-1 series either way. Both teams are off to a slow start, though, so I wouldn’t be surprise if one or the other team gets back on track after this. Look for Upton to have a big series for the D-Backs and Johnson to throw a gem Sunday.
Want to thank Chris for his time and all the Diamondback readers that have read this! We appreciate you and wish you guys the best of luck in the remaining three games of the series.
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Ever since I can remember, I have loved the game of baseball. I literally breathe, eat, and sleep baseball. Have been a huge Marlins fan since the day I watched my first game in 1999. When I combined my passion for writing with my passion for baseball and the Marlins, I found a role as the Editor of the Marlin Maniac. Hope is to one day become a national baseball journalist. Currently resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but was born and raised in South Florida.