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Why the Arizona Diamondbacks Can Win the NL West

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JUNE 13: (L-R) Stephen drew #6, Justin Upton #10 and Kelly Johnson #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate scoring against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on June 13, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images
D WizzleSenior Analyst IJune 13, 2011

If you read the local Bay Area newspapers or listen to the San Francisco Giants' flagship station, KNBR, you would think that the Arizona Diamondbacks have no shot of winning the NL West.

The local sportswriters and sports talk radio hosts in the Bay Area are always quick to dismiss the Diamondbacks as serious contenders.

I strongly disagree with these nonbelievers of the Diamondbacks though. How can you dismiss a team that plays their home games in a hitters' haven and have legitimate power bats such as Justin Upton and Chris Young?

Arizona also has a quality shortstop in Stephen Drew and a savvy veteran catcher in Miguel Montero. 3B Ryan Roberts isn't too shabby either, with 10 homers and 28 RBIs.

How can you say a team can't contend when they lead the NL in homers and slugging percentage? The Diamondbacks' pitching staff was a weakness for them in 2010, but they are a lot better this year.

Last year, the bullpen would give up leads and blow saves, but Arizona now has a steady bullpen led by their closer J.J. Putz.

Their starting rotation is led by youngsters like Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Josh Collmenter. Veteran lefties Zach Duke and Joe Saunders round up their starting five.

Collmenter is in the running for Rookie of the Year and his awkward delivery makes it hard for hitters to time his pitches. Kennedy pitches like a veteran and has a lot of poise while Hudson has a great fastball.

The Giants are not going to run away with the division because they can't hit at all. Every win for the Giants is a one-run affair and the only reason they are in first place is because of their pitching.

The Diamondbacks are legitimate contenders for the NL West title, and I expect them to challenge the Giants all the way to early October.

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