The extremes explored by the brothers Upton this month have been just a little dizzying.
Where hitting coaches have failed, perhaps it is time to bring in some world renowned geneticist to sort out exactly how two such close brothers could be going in such opposite directions.
Justin, of course, has inspired the stirrings of MVP talk with an August that, entering Saturday’s game with the Miami Marlins, has included a National League best 28 RBI, seven home runs, 13 extra base hits, a .295 batting average, a .982 OPS.
Meanwhile the struggles of brother B.J. have only deepened. Take Justin’s numbers and start doing some serious dividing. B.J. has seen the field less frequently — Saturday he made his 19th start of the month — with reason. He has hit just .115 in the month, with two home runs, four RBI, and a .506 OPS.
Asked Saturday if his brother’s troubles have made enjoying his own successes more difficult, Justin only said, “As long as the team’s winning and we’re headed in the right direction, it doesn’t matter. I could be stinking it up, and if we’re winning, we’re good.”
His manager doesn’t seem too concerned that a pivotal player in the September pursuit of a playoff spot will be distracted by his brother’s woes.
“I would have been more concerned last year than I am this year,” Fredi Gonzalez said.
“It’s never been a big concern for me. I’ve never even spoken to (Justin) about any of that stuff,” he said.
August has traditionally been one of Justin’s most prolific periods, but he says he is not terribly saddened to see the month end this weekend.
“No, September is the fun month,” he said. “We’re still in the hunt. That’s when baseball gets fun, that’s when you make your run at the postseason.”
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