The Arizona Diamondbacks were not supposed to be very good this year, let alone contending for the National League West Division title. Already, they have more wins this season (69) through 122 games than they did all last season (65).
No, the San Francisco Giants have better pitching, and they have "the beard" closing. The Los Angeles Dodgers have more offensive firepower with Matt Kemp, James Loney and Andre Either, and the Colorado Rockies, for reasons unknown, always seem to go on an amazing run to close out the season.
Instead, it's the Diamondbacks who are making a serious run to win the NL West.
Armed with the pitching duo of Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson, who are a combined 27-11 on the season, the Diamondbacks have taken the division by storm.
They have an offense that's just as potent as any in the league on any day, and with the call-up of power-hitting first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, the Diamondbacks have the kind of team that can surprise a top-seeded squad like the Philadelphia Phillies.
Last season, nobody expected the Giants to win the NL West, let alone beat the Phillies for the pennant, but they did.
With an offense not nearly as good as Philadelphia's and a pitching staff that's revolved around Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, as compared to the Phillies three-headed monster of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, it was the Giants who emerged victorious.
Was it because they were more talented or because of their budget? Hardly. Or did they just get lucky? No—Cody Ross wasn't lucky; he was clutch.
The Giants won last season because they executed their game plan better than everybody else. Now, it seems like the Diamondbacks are returning the favor in the NL West.
Justin Upton leads the team in every major offensive category, including stolen bases. Among league leaders, Upton ranks fourth in hits; fifth in home runs; sixth in RBIs; ninth in OBP; and 10th in batting average. Catcher Miguel Montero is second in the league in RBIs with 61, behind only Victor Martinez.
Closer JJ Putz is sixth in saves, and Ian Kennedy is tied with Halladay in the NL with 15 wins.
The Diamondbacks can hit. They're top 10 in the league in runs, home runs and RBIs, and their top two pitchers are the type that can quickly draw a 2-0 lead in a best-of-five or best-of-seven series.