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2020 SnakePit Awards: Performance of the Year nominees

Time to vote for the best single-game performance of the year.

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

I went with six in the end; decided to reward Jack for making the only real decent case for any other candidates! So we have two starting pitching performance, one relief appearance and three hitting performances, mostly the ones mentioned in the comments as being worthy of consideration.

August 16, Eduardo Escobar - 3-for-4, R, HR, three RBI, +69.3% WP

Escobar had a rough start to the season, coming into this contest, over 20 games, he was batting .167 with one home-run and a .495 OPS. But on this evening at Chase Field against the Padres, it was like the old version of Eduardo was back. He singled in the fourth and the sixth for his first multi-hit game of 2020. But then in the eighth, he came up with the D-backs down by two and with two men on. Pagan delivered a pitch down and it - not a bad offering, but Eduardo turned on it, dispatching it into the bleachers for a go-ahead three-run homer that was (as previously noted) easily the clutchiest play of the year by a Diamondback.

August 28, Zac Gallen - 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO

I’ll turn this over to Jack: “It was only his 4th best game by game score, (67), but it stopped a losing streak. As most of us will remember the team got to 13-11 after winning two games in Oakland, but then went on an 8 game losing streak to fall to 13-19. If the team were to have ANY chance to recover the losing streak had to end. Gallen pitched 5 scoreless innings, shutting down the Giants while the offense finally woke from slumber, scoring 1 in the 1st, 2 in the 3rd, and broke it open with 4 in the bottom of the 5th. Gallen gave up a solo shot to Longoria in the 6th, and pitched around a couple of singles in the 7th unscathed. It was a shut down performance when the team needed it most. It wasn’t enough, but in the moment it gave a slight glimmer of hope the team might stop the skid.”

September 2, Zac Gallen - 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO

This one, however, was the best Game Score of the year by a Diamondbacks starter, rating an 80. That’s five points better than any other start. He gave up a leadoff single to Mookie Betts in the bottom of the first, and that was it for hits. After a two-out walk in the second, Gallen then retired the next 16 batters faced, but was pulled by Torey Lovullo after a lead-off walk in the eighth [With Gallen at 97 pitches and a 1-0 lead, I can’t blame him, though the bullpen allowed three runs in the ninth and tenth, as Arizona lost 3-2] As often happened, Zac certainly deserved more than a no-decision: he had a 1.88 ERA over his seven NDs this year, but none were better than this outing.

September 15, Kole Calhoun - 3-for-5, two R, two HR, five RBI

There were only three multi-homer games for a D-back in 2020, and Calhoun was responsible for two of them. His total bases here tied for the team’s season high (with Ketel Marte, Sep 4), as did his five runs driven in (with Nick Ahmed, Aug 18). But the team certainly needed every one of those RBI from Calhoun, in eking out a 9-8 victory over the Angels in Anaheim, after blowing a seven-run lead. Kole was key in building that big lead, with a two-run homer in the first inning, which went 419 feet. That was followed by a three-run shot in the third, even harder hit, with an exit velocity of 105.7 mph. He also singled to lead off the fifth, giving him nine total bases in his first three PA back in Angels Stadium.

September 22, Riley Smith - 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO in relief

Riley became only the fourth reliever in D-backs history to throw 5+ shutout innings - and one of those was Randy Johnson in the famous “power outage” game (the others were Tyler Wagner in 2016 and Josh Collmenter in 2013). It was all the more impressive because it was only Smith’s fifth big-league appearance. He combined with Caleb Smith on a six-hit blanking of the Texas Rangers, and needed only 59 pitches, all but a dozen of them strikes, to get through his five innings. The +7 K-BB surplus tied for second-most ever by anyone out of the Arizona bullpen (again, the Big Unit is unsurprisingly #1!) - a figure also achieved by some guy called Max Scherzer...

September 26, Tim Locastro - 3-for-3, two R, two RBI, BB, HBP, five times on base

There’s nothing better than a lead-off man who gets on base. And Locastro was perfect in that role on a night against the Rockies, reaching safely all five times he came to the plate - the only time a D-backs achieved the feat in the 2020 season. Heck, he had two hits in the first inning alone, as the D-backs batted around and sent 12 men to the plate. By the time the night was over, he had three hits, walked and also had the Locastro special, getting hit by a pitch for the fourth and final time this year. But even his hits on this night were well struck. The trio of knocks averaged an exit velocity of 93.6 mph as they came off Tim’s bat, peaking at 103.4 mph for his single in the sixth.

Here’s the link to vote - as before, we are requiring SnakePit user IDs, just in case Riley Smith has a large family. :) Results on Sunday, providing I’ve come out of the turkey-induced coma by that point! Happy Thanksgiving, folks!