Outfielder Chris Denorfia #13 of the San Diego Padres is unable to catch a home run ball hit by Lyle Overbay of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning at Chase Field on September 10. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
It was not exactly a surprise, but the first award, for Play of the Year, went to Ryan Roberts' walk-off grand-slam against the Dodgers, in an utter landslide. It received 86% of the votes cast, which I think is probably close to a 'Pitties record - have to dig through the history books to check that. We now move on to the best single-game performance by a Diamondback in 2011. Should be a little closer, simply because it could hardly be any more lopsided! After the jump, you'll find the five nominees, and the poll to decide the winner.
April 25th vs. Phillies: Ian Kennedy complete-game against Philadelphia
Two starts by Kennedy made the top ten starts by Game Score in Diamondbacks history; however, the other was against the much weaker Pirates. This was facing the team that would post the best regular-season record in the National League, and Kennedy dominated them. He struck out ten, didn't walk a batter and allowed three hits in his first complete game - the day after his wife gave birth to their first child. Said Kennedy, I get really emotional when I start thinking about it being the day after she was born. I did it for my little Easter baby and for my wife who did it all. She's a champ." The baby was born 2:04 am Sunday. Kennedy took 2:04 to beat Philadelphia on Monday.
May 30th: Kelly Johnson gets four hits, two home-runs, 13 total bases
The Diamondbacks destroyed the Marlins 15-4 on this night; Justin Upton got five hits, including a monster bomb into Friday's, but that wasn't even the best performance of the day. For Johnson's 13 bases hadn't been surpassed by an Arizona player in almost eight years, and the four extra-base hits tied a franchise record - Matt Kemp was the only other NL hitter to match that last season. Johnson drove in three and came up in the eighth needing a single for the cycle, but fell short. Still, as he said afterward, "I feel real good. I hit some balls hard and got some good pitches to hit. When that happens, it's nice."
June 17th: Daniel Hudson complete game three-hitter versus the White Sox
"He wanted it bad," said Cap'n Kirk following Hudson's first career complete game, and Daniel agreed: "Obviously, it's a little bit special... Going against a team that drafted me and gave me my first chance in the big leagues was a lot of fun." He gave up one run (a solo homer to Chaparral graduate Paul Konerko) on three hits and a walk, struck out five, and also produced at the plate, driving in a run with his seventh inning double - off the man for whom he was traded to Chicago, Edwin Jackson. "We always did like him," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said, apparently rewriting history. "When we traded him, I knew this kid had a chance to be a pretty good one."
July 18th: Josh Collmenter three-hits Milwaukee over eight shutout innings
Collmenter had several potential candidates, such as his start in the 1-0 win over Los Angeles, arguably the win that kick-started the season. But this was comfortably his best outing, with a Game Score that trailed only Kennedy's pair in 2011 pitching performances. In Collmenter's first appearance after the break, he dominated the Brewers for the second consecutive start, running his scoreless streak to 14 innings. Josh was more than satisfied: "I think today was a culmination of everything that I can do as a pitcher. I really had everything working and kept them off-balance." Including his post-season start, Brewers' hitters have a line of .113/.160/.155 in 75 PAs against him.
September 10th: Lyle Overbay beats the Padres, three hits, +87% Win Probability
The clutchiest performance since 2004 by a Diamondbacks culminated in Overbay coaxing the seventh walk-off walk in franchise history. But that only came after he tied the game up in the ninth with a home-run off closer Heath Bell, and Overbay had also driven in another run with a second-inning double. Lyle chose the biggest stage for his performance, in front of a sell-out Chase crowd, there for the World Series 10th anniversary celebrations - a team of which he was a September part. And a little extra drama was added by San Diego protesting Overbay's victory, claiming Miggy hadn't touched his base on the game-ending walk. Denied!
What was the best single-game performance of 2011 by a D-back?
April 25th: Ian Kennedy complete-game against Philadelphia (78 votes)
May 30th: Kelly Johnson 13 total bases vs. Florida (5 votes)
June 17th: Daniel Hudson complete game three-hitter vs. White Sox (6 votes)
July 18th: Josh Collmenter three-hits Milwaukee over eight shutout innings (9 votes)
September 10th: Lyle Overbay beats the Padres, +87% Win Probability (20 votes)
118 total votes