Game of the year proved more or less a two-horse race, between the two marathon contests, the 16-inning game in the opening series at chase, and the 18-inning epic in Philadelphia. Despite being two innings shorter, the former prevailed, taking 44% of the votes, its optimism and drama it contained being preferred over the sheer, bloody-minded slog of the seven hours against the Phillies. We now move on to the third category, that of single-game performance. We have two position players, two starting pitchers and one reliever nominated in this category.
5/18 Brandon McCarthy - complete game shutout, 1-0 win
This was a nominee for Game of the Year, but deserves further recognition for McCarthy's shutout of the Marlins, which needed to be brilliant, because Gerardo Parra's lead-off home-run was the only offense either team would muster. McCarthy was thus always living on the razor's edge, but after Parra nailed a runner at home in the first, he'd one-hit Florida over the final eight innings. It took him one pitch shy of a hundred, and the resulting WPA of +79.9% was the third-highest ever by a Diamondbacks and the highest in the National League since Edwin Jackson's no hitter in 2010. It was also McCarthy's first victory since taking a line-drive off the head.
5/20 Patrick Corbin - three-hitter at Coors, 10 strikeouts
This was the contest which led Todd Helton to proclaim Corbin's slider the best he'd ever seen - high praise indeed, coming from a man who faced the Big Unit and "Mr. Snappy" in his prime. Pitching in the not-exactly friendly confines of Denver, Patrick allowed one hit through the first seven innings, and did lose the shutout in the eighth, on the last of the three hits allowed. But he finished strong, retiring Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki in order for the ninth. The 99-pitch effort resulted in a Game Score of 86, the highest of the year by a D-backs starter, and our best since Ian Kennedy's one-hitter of the Pirates in September 2011.
6/19 Josh Collmenter - six shutout innings of one-hit relief
Particularly in the National League, relievers just don't throw six shutout innings. It's happened barely a handful of times since 2003. And holding the opposition to one hit or fewer? That's rarer still. No true reliever e.g. discounting things like Randy Johnson's power-outage "relief appearance", has done that for over thirty years, since John Edelen for the 1981 Reds. Collmenter was forced into play for the second innings, following an injury to Trevor Cahill, but stepped up magnificently, striking out seven and walking one. If it had been a start, the resulting Game Score of 76 would have been tied for seventh-best this year; for a relief appearance, it was phenomenal.
8/7 Martin Prado - 4-for-4, BB, four RBI, +76.9% WP
It was games like this one which helped propel Prado to winning the National League Player of the Month award for August, one of four times this year a D-back reached base five times in regulation. Martin finished a triple short of the cycle, but came up big in some key situations. After a walk in the first, he homered in the third inning to tie the game at three, doubled and scored in the fifth, singled in the sixth, and then, with the Diamondbacks down 8-7 in the eighth, came up with the bases loaded. Prado flipped a two-run single to right center, driving in the tying and go-ahead runs, to make the final score 9-8 for Arizona.
8/13 Paul Goldschmidt - tying HR in 9th, walk-off HR in 11th, +79.8% WP
In a year of remarkable performances from the MVP runner-up, this is the one which you will find in the dictionary, next to the word "clutch." Goldie had four of the five multi-homer games by a Diamondback this year [do you know without looking, who had the fifth?] but by Win Probability, this easily topped them all, 23.6% ahead of his next-best effort. With the D-backs down by one in the ninth, Goldschmidt homered off Orioles' closer Jim Johnson to tie things up. Next time up, to lead off the 11th inning, he then cranked the first offering from T.J. McFarland down the line in right-field for another Arizona walk-off. Bubble-gum shower approaching...