The 2012 'Pitties: Diamondbacks Performance of the Year

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Congratulations to Adam Eaton, whose September double-play against the Padres took 52% of the vote, and so became the winner of the first 2012 AZ SnakePit award, for Play of the Year. We now move on to the category for best single-game performance of the 2012 campaign - I added an extra one, so we'd have three each for both hitters and pitchers.

4/24: Wade Miley's spot start vs. PHI

This was going to be one of Josh Collmenter's short-rest outings, which aricat reminded me about. However, while researching those, I discovered an even better one was Miley's rotation debut, coming just four days after he had faced ten batters against the Braves, and as a result of Daniel Hudson hitting the DL. Miley blanked the reigning NL East champions for six innings, holding them to two hits and walk, while striking out seven. The resulting Game Score of 61 was the highest by a Diamondback on short rest since Chris Capuano in 2003, and kick-started a season for Miley which ended with him one of the top contenders for National League Rookie of the Year.

4/27: Joe Saunders three-hitter vs. MIA

This was Joe's third career complete-game shutout and first since coming to Arizona - even being hit by a comebacker off the leg of Hanley Ramirez in the fourth inning couldn't detail Saunders, who didn't allow a runner past first-base. His 116-pitch effort required facing only two batters over the minimum, three double-plays countering the trio of hits and two walks, with five strikeouts. Said Saunders after the game, "I was making good pitches and I was just fortunate for them to hit the ball at my defense, and my defense was awesome." The outing gave Joe a sub-one ERA for April, as he finished the month with a figure of 0.90.

6/18: Aaron Hill's cycle #1 vs. SEA

The Diamondbacks now have six cycles in team history - the same as the Braves, who have been around in one city or another since 1876. Hill delivered #5 and #6 in the second half of June, becoming the first player to hit two in one season since the Babe (Herman, not Ruth!) did so in 1931.Hill came up in the seventh needing a home-run to complete the cycle, and delivered. Hill said, "I don't think I've ever tried to hit a home run and actually done it. I just took a deep breath and tried to do what I did the previous at-bats... It's something you can easily get excited about and try to do too much, so I just tried to look for a good pitch."

6/29: Aaron Hill's cycle #2 vs. MIL

Almost as remarkable as Hill's two actual cycles, is that on four other occasions this year, he was within one hit of an unprecedentred tri-cycle. He was a double short on June 5, and a triple on Sept 4, 23 and October 2. Hill, Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Braun were the only players in the majors this year with three games in which they hit for 10+ total bases. Hill's second cycle of the month was completed by the sixth, as he tripled into the left-center gap, off former D-back Livan Hernandez. "You can't think about it," Aaron said. "If you think about doing anything at the plate, you're digging yourself into a hole... You look for a ball up and hope things work out."

7/21: Jason Kubel's three homers vs. HOU

No Diamondbacks hitter was hotter in July than Kubel, who pounded 11 home-runs for a .733 slugging percentage on the month. It was highlighted by the ninth three-homer game in franchise history, and the first at Chase Field in over eight years, since Luis Gonzalez did so against the Mets in May 2004. Kubel drove in six runs with shots in the first, fourth and sixth innings - they went to left, right and left-center respectively. He had a chance for a four-homer game, but struck out in the eighth inning. Jason commented, "I put some good swings on some balls up. The balls I was missing yesterday, I wasn't missing tonight."

8/22: Wade Miley saves the 'pen vs. MIA

A brutal series of ten games in nine days for the Diamondbacks finished with the first ever double-header at Chase Field. It came the day after an extra-inning affair against Miami that required the use of five relievers, and three were needed to complete the day game behind Tyler Skaggs's debut. But Miley stepped it up with eight shutout innings, tying a career high by throwing 116 pitches, scattering four hits and a walk, with five K's. Said Wil Nieves, "He just concentrates on hitting the spots... He's going to be successful because there's no second-guessing and no worrying on if it's the right or wrong pitch. He just throws it with conviction and it's fun catching him."

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