The Arizona Diamondbacks did the improbable Friday night and clinched the National League West, thanks to a 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants. The win completed a worst-to-first turnaround, as they improved their record to 91-66 and extended their lead in the division to seven games.
Manager Kirk Gibson’s team has had an insane change of direction this year after falling six and a half games out of first place by the end of April. It looked as if Arizona was headed for another terrible season after going 65-97 in 2010.
The win gives the Diamondbacks their first division title since 2007.
Arizona has been led by Justin Upton all season long. The 24-year-old outfielder leads the Diamondbacks with a .291 batting average, 31 home runs, 88 RBI and a .371 on-base percentage. He is also tied for the team-lead in stolen bases with 21. Good thing the team decided not to trade him this offseason after seriously considering it.
The Diamondbacks have also gotten a stellar season out of starting pitcher Ian Kennedy. The 26-year-old Kennedy is a Cy Young Award candidate, as he has compiled a 20-4 record, 2.88 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 32 starts. He has thrown 216 innings this year and has 194 strikeouts, while allowing just 181 hits and 53 walks. Truly Kennedy has been fantastic.
Arizona’s season has been incredible considering how awful the team was in 2010. Hats off to general manager Kevin Towers, Gibson and the entire roster for turning things around.