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2014 Performance of the Year: Josh Collmenter's 'imperfect game'

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It was a night to remember in May, as Josh Collmenter threw his first career shutout in the majors. And it only took him 27 batters to do it. It's now also the winner of the 2014 'Pittie for Performance of the Year.

The voting
  • 63% May 29: Josh Collmenter faces the minimum
  • 19% May 17: Paul Goldschmidt's 12 bases + six RBI
  • 10% September 3: Daniel Hudson returns
  • 4% June 10: Bronson Arroyo wins with torn UCL
  • 2% April 10: Tony Campana +72.2% Win Probability
  • 2% September 20: Oliver Perez fans four in an inning

The voting was about as much of a foregone conclusion as could be expected. Collmenter became just the second Diamondback in franchise history to face the minimum 27 batters in a complete game (following RJ's perfect one in 2004), as he blanked the Cincinnati Reds on May 29. He gave up three hits, but these were erased as the defense turned three double plays behind him: two conventional ones, and a FIDP, A.J. Pollock nailing a runner on an ill-advised attempt to advance to third on a fly-ball. As noted at the time, allowing as many as three hits and still facing the minimum, is rarer than a perfect game, and has only happened thirteen times in the past century.

The honor roll has been updated, and next week, we move on to the best overall single-game of the year. Will that category prove any more one-sided?

In his own words
  • "I felt really good in the bullpen, keeping the ball down in the zone. Sometimes when you're locked in in the pen, it's almost a bad feeling because you go out to the mound, and it's not there again. You almost want to be a little more erratic in the bullpen, and then once you get the adrenalin out there on the mound, it makes you lock in."
  • "The big thing for me is fastball command. I'm not going to blow guys away. If I can place the ball where I want and move it in and out, change speeds, that's my bread and butter. To be able to do that and just repeat it over and over and over and work down in the zone and not give them pitches they can drive and keep the ball in the park, I've really been focusing on that."
  • "I just wanted to continue to be efficient and get outs. Especially getting the first guy of the inning out, that was my big focus. I was trying to make good pitches to get that guy out, because it's a lot tougher for them to rally with a guy already out than it is if they get the first guy on."
  • "Tuffy called a great game behind the plate, and the guys made every play in the field that I could ask them to make; turning the double plays – even the fly-ball double play that you don't see too often. (The Reds) were putting the ball in play early, and I think that helped keep my pitch count down and give me a chance to go back out there for the ninth."
  • "In the eighth I looked up just to see and at that point you're kind of cognizant of what you have to do. You get those guys, then you set yourself up for seven, eight and the pinch hitter."
  • "It was fun. The fans were all on their feet, and they were making as much noise as they could make in here. It kind of gives you good bumps and makes you want to get it even more than just on your own."
According to others
  • "That was outstanding. He just had great location, varying his speeds, throwing both sides of the plate and when he got guys on, he eliminated them with double plays. He was just kind of in the zone, throwing his pitches right where he wanted them. Pollo made a good throw on Pena at third base. And Aaron Hill made a couple of very good plays. Overall, it was a very good game for us." -- Kirk Gibson
  • "I think he made quality strikes and got contact, bad contact. They hit a few balls hard, and we played good defense, turned a double play here or there. He was very efficient with fastball location and was able to miss the barrel a lot tonight." -- Tuffy Gosewisch
  • "He elevates the ball well. He took advantage of a low strike zone that both teams were getting from the home plate umpire. And, he took what was there. We just didn't barrel many balls." -- Reds manager Bryan Price

Sources: Arizona Sports, MLive.com, AZ Central, CBS Sports, MLB.