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2021 Single-game Performance of the Year: Nominees and ballot

Probably little doubt about the winner, but let’s remember some of the others as well.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

April 6: Matt Peacock’s MLB debut vs. Rockies

I’m just going to defer to ‘Hacks on this one.

The Diamondbacks were 1-3, visiting Coors, and the pitching is already depleted. They call up Peacock from AA on April 6, and that very night it goes extra in Coors. His first major league appearance wasn’t in regulation, like Tyler Gilbert’s first three mlb relief appearances were, or the third inning as a long man in a blow out. It was the eleventh inning, with Manfred Man on second base. If Peacock gives up an earned run, in Coors Field, we lose.

He doesn’t.

He pitches a hitless eleventh. And a hitless twelfth. In the top of the thirteenth, his spot regrettably comes up in the order, so Lovullo is forced to pinch hit for Peacock, which makes perfect s…oh wait…. our Incompetent Manager lets Matt Peacock bat, in a nip and tuck contest at Coors. Peacock pops it up behind short, cementing Lovullo’s utter….what’s this? The ball miraculously drops for a single. First MLB at bat, single! By a relief pitcher. The next batter, Ketel, finally breaks it open w a bases clearing double, Peacock chugging his way all the way from first for a welcome insurance run in Coors.

That’s my favorite part, more than Peacock closing it out in the bottom of the thirteenth for the win. It’s him rounding third base. It might be my favorite image of this whole misbegotten season. It ties into our crabby DH debates and what it means to be a baseball player amid the modern advance of specialization. That morning, Matt Peacock was a AA pitcher. That night, he didnt do “a” thing to help the Diamondbacks win. He effectively saved the game, technically “won” it on the mound, singled in his first look at a major league pitcher, advanced three bases on a double at altitude. He threw. He hit. He ran. Then he pitched some more.

That’s all you can do.

April 22: David Peralta powers the offense vs. Reds

It was the best offensive performance of the year, totaling 10 bases and including a pair of home-runs, as the Freight Train drove in seven runs with a five-hit afternoon in Cincinnati. And the Diamondbacks needed those runs, in a wild game against the Reds. At the end of five, the score was 2-1 to Arizona, but the two sides combined to score twenty runs the rest of the way, including nine in the tenth inning. Three of the six runs the D-backs scored came in on Peralta’s triple, as he racked up the year’s highest WP by a hitter, of +58.1%. That’s all the more impressive, as the only time up where David didn’t get a hit, he grounded into an inning ending double-play in the third, which cost him 11%.

April 25: Madison Bumgarner “no-hitter” vs. Braves

It may not have been an “official” no-hitter, but it will remain a no-hitter in our hearts. While the Bumgarner contract has been, and will remain, a topic of discussion, this was the kind of performance Arizona wanted when they signed MadBum. Even if it took place in a game shortened to seven innings due to it being part of a double-header, it was still a delight to watch. Not least because it followed on the heels of Zac Gallen tossing a one-hit shutout in the day portion. So our two starters tossed a total of 14 innings of one-hit, shutout baseball, an unprecedented feat in modern times. It looks all the better now, coming against the future World Series champions, who at the time still had star Ronald Acuna in their line-up.

August 14: Tyler Gilbert’s no-hitter vs. Padres

I get the feeling we’ll be discussing this one a bit more on Monday, so let’s save the words for then. :)

August 22: Daulton Varsho is a single short of a cycle vs. Rockies

Varsho’s blossoming in his sophomore season was one of the highlights of the year, and he had two of the top five 2021 performances by an Arizona hitter, in terms of total bases. This one, he missed out on a cycle by the easiest part of it, but did get a walk, going 3-for-4 with all three hits being for extra bases. He got a three-run homer in the second inning, then walked in the sixth, doubled in a run in the eighth, and tripled in the ninth. The four runs Daulton drove in on the day, turned out to be the margin of victory for the Diamondbacks, in an 8-4 win at Coors Field.

It’s probably significant that three out of the five candidates took place before the end of April. Y’know, back when people were actually watching. :) Below is the poll, or it’s linked here. We’ll announce the winner on Monday.