And, then, there were five…
Not much in the way of alternative suggestions. I did appreciate AzDbackfanInDc putting forward the first game of the season, simply for there being baseball, in a year when there were certainly times it looked like it wouldn’t happen. But you could say more or less the same about any of the games: even after the season started, there were points at which the season being completed seemed very dubious e.g. the Marlins outbreak. You could equally make a case for the 60th game, I suspect: there were many who severely doubted the season would get completed. But we got there in the end.
So, here are the five selected nominees, with a video summary of the game, and a little blurb about why they stood out. As before, the link on the title goes to the SnakePit recap.
August 5: 14-run outburst against Astros
The offense had a dire start, in particular managing just two home-runs through 11 games. That trend continued through the middle of the fourth, as they trailed 4-0. But the roof had been opened at the end of the third, and the D-backs promptly exploded in the fourth – much to the chagrin of Astros fans. The first seven batters reached safely as Arizona sent fourteen men to the plate, scoring nine times for their biggest inning since June 21, 2017. By the time the game was over, they had tripled their tally for home-runs, and scored almost half as many runs, as the 29 they had managed in the first 11 games combined. Even Robbie Ray allowing six runs couldn’t stop the D-backs.
August 6: 5-4 walk-off win over Astros
The following day brought us one of two Arizona walk-off wins in 2020. This gets the edge, because the team were trailing as we entered the bottom of the ninth. It had been a back and forth contest: Arizona came back from 2-0 down with a three-run sixth, but a two-run homer by Alex Bregman in the eighth, had given Houston the lead again. Down to their last three outs, the team faced Astros’ All-Star closer, Ryan Pressly. But it turned out the D-backs didn’t even need one out. A lead-off walk to Alex Young was followed by singles from Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte, loading the bases, still with nobody out. Enter new guy Kole Calhoun, who lined one to right, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs.
August 12: 18-hit pounding of Rockies, eight-run inning
Ah, Coors Field. Never change. By the end of the fifth, the D-backs had already delivered tacos, scoring five runs on eight hits. But they had also blown three separate leads, with starter Luke Weaver being chased after just 3.1 innings. After the sixth, that wasn’t an issue, as Arizona batted around, with 12 men coming up, the Diamondbacks getting seven hits and scoring eight runs to take a 13-5 lead. They ended the afternoon with a season-high 18 hits in total, with four different players – Kole Calhoun, Starling Marte, Christian Walker and Nick Ahmed – having had a three-hit game. [One off the franchise record- also at Coors, unsurprisingly]
August 18: Biggest margin of season versus Athletics
This was arguably the best all-round performance of the season by Arizona, especially coming against an opponent who would win their division by seven games. But I’ll defer to Jack, who provided a good explanation of specifically why this one merits consideration in the comments of the previous thread. “We had gotten above .500, were in the thick of the Wild Card. Everyone was feeling great in the GAMETHREAD. The offense showed up early and often and the pitching was good throughout. This was in fact “Peak Diamondbacks Baseball” in 2020. It was captured succinctly in this Red comment”
This is the team we were excited for.
Formerly known as CorC
Posted by Dragan Nkemdiche on Aug 18, 2020 | 3:38 PM
September 4: Most exciting win by leverage, 6-5 over Giants
The average leverage index for our pitchers in this game was 1.979 (1.0 = average stress). That was easily the most stressful in any regulation game this year, with the next highest being 1.654. Arizona pitchers notched a win, four holds and a save, tying a franchise record for a 9-inning contest. A good part of that leverage came in the 8th, where Stefan Crichton, brought in to preserve a one-run lead, loaded the bases with no outs, on two singles and a hit batter. But he escaped, courtesy of a double-play and a groundout. The average leverage in that inning was 4.14. After that Houdini act, Kevin Ginkel followed up with his first (and only!) save of the year, as Arizona escaped with the W.
Not bothering to make you provide your SnakePit usernames on this poll, since I think the chance of anyone ballot-stuffing here is a) probably low, and b) not something I’m bothered about! So, here’s the poll, result to be announced on Sunday.