Before we get on to the Single-game Performance award, congratulations to Brandon Allen, whose grand-slam was voted Play of the Year by SnakePit readers, in the first 'Pittie award category. An honorable mention to Gerardo Parra, for his double-play catch in left-field; nice to see some of the fringe players on the roster getting some love from the voting electorate!
Now, we move on to the second award. It's probably meaningful, that of the five nominees for Single-Game Performance of 2010, the majority of them took place in Diamondback losses. Looking back, it wouldn't have surprised me if Edwin Jackson had contrived some way to become the second man ever to lose a complete-game no-hitter. Still, in a season where we lost close to a hundred games, there were often times where the only thing we could take away was an individual accomplishment, when the team as a whole failed us. After the jump, we'll list five also-rans in this area, and then the five nominees for the award.
- April 20th - Dan Haren gets four hits and the W vs. St. Louis
- April 29th - Adam LaRoche, three extra-base hits + five RBI vs. Cubs
- June 2nd - Edwin Jackson, nine shutout IP, no-decision vs. Dodgers.
- June 4th - Esmerling Vasquez fans five, no hits, in two IP vs. Colorado [token bullpen mention!]
- August 1st - Adam LaRoche drives in six vs. New York Mets
And the nominees are...
June 25th - Edwin Jackson, no-hitter vs. Tampa Bay
"It was the best of no-hitters... It was the worst of no-hitters..." It couldn't have been a bigger contrast to the first in franchise history, with Jackson's among the most imperfect games ever. He walked seven Rays before he retired seven, then blanked Tampa Bay the rest of the way, and won 1-0, after throwing 149 pitches and, improbably, allowing no hits. Said Jackson afterward: "I'm sure if I had given up a hit there in the third, I would have been out. But I didn't and when my pitch count started getting up there, I just said, I'm not coming out until I give up a hit or a home run."
July 23rd - Kelly Johnson hits for the cycle vs. Giants
Hard-hittin' KJ homered in the first, doubled in the fifth, tripled in the sixth, and became the fourth D-back in team history to complete the cycle, singling in the eighth. However, it wasn't enough for Arizona, with Jackson committing a pair of key errors, and as a result, Johnson became the fourth National League player since 1999 to perform the feat and see his team lose on the same night. A disappointed Johnson commented, "We battled back and got a lead and gave it right back. It's tough, a tough way to support your starting pitcher."
August 25th - Stephen Drew, four extra-base hits vs. San Diego
This was actually Drew's first ever multi-homer game. He became the seventh Diamondback with four extra-base hits in one game [he was also the fifth, when he hit for the cycle-plus in September 2008], and the 12 total bases was the most by any Arizona hitter this year. But we still lost, in part due to a Drew error: the last two NL hitters to have a dozen bases and lose were both D-backs, as Chris Young did it with his three-homer game in Colorado last September. "You don't have nights like that too much and you're seeing the ball good and putting good swings on it," Drew said.
August 26th - Ian Kennedy fans 12 vs. San Diego
"When you have that lead early on, you just want to get ahead of guys and try not to give them a chance to come back," commented Kennedy. He did, completely dominating the Padres: a two-out single was the only hit in seven innings, and he faced one over the minimum after the first. In terms of Game Score, it was the equal of the no-hitter, and the first time Kennedy reached 10 K's in his career. It also tied the D-backs' single-game mark for the year. Ian worked a two-out walk in the second, allowing Drew to follow up with a three-run homer that helped us to our only 2010 win at Petco.
September 12th - Ian Kennedy, three hits and six shutout innings vs. Colorado
Our pitchers this year collectively hit .182: second-best in the NL. This game wasn't the top such performance - that'd be the Haren one, an honorable mention above - but Kennedy pitched a lot better in his start. Naturally, putting up six zeroes and getting three of AZ's eight hits wasn't enough, even though he left in the bottom of the seventh with a 2-0 lead. The bullpen coughed it up, and for the third time this year, the Diamondbacks lost a game in which Kennedy allowed zero runs. "Not only did we not do much with Ian Kennedy today, we couldn't get him out either," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy.
And the 2010 AZ SnakePit Award for Single-Game Performance goes to...
6/25: Edwin Jackson No-hitter (126 votes)
7/23: Kelly Johnson cycle (18 votes)
8/25: Stephen Drew four XBH (12 votes)
8/26 Ian Kennedy fans 12 (7 votes)
9/12 Ian Kennedy, three hits, six scoreless (3 votes)
166 total votes