D-backs were in many a pitchers’ duel
The old Nike commercial featured the tag line, “Chicks dig
And true, everyone likes a home run – when their team is
the one who hits it – but there is something to be said
for a good old fashioned pitcher’s duel.
Bill James of Grantland.com ranked the top 100
pitchers’ duels of the 2011 season, and seven D-backs
games made the list.
Now, the criteria for what made a game a great pitches’
duel is purely subjective, but in case you were wondering,
here’s how James did it:
Four criteria — low-scoring game, quality pitchers on the
mound, pitchers pitch well, and something is at stake. It
is a pretty easy measure of any of those. Low-scoring game
… that can’t be any easier to measure. Quality starting
pitchers on the mound; that’s not hard. Game of
significance; we can get there with a little work. The
only hard part is matching the scales, saying how much
weight can be given to the quality of the starting
pitchers, how much to the performance of the starting
pitchers, how much to the score of the game, etc. That
requires a pinch of subjective judgment.
The top D-backs-related performance on the list was a May
10 game in San Francisco that saw Tim Lincecum and Ian
Kennedy trade blanks through eight innings. Kennedy struck
out eight and Lincecum fanned nine, with each allowing
just four hits apiece.
The Giants won the game in the bottom of the ninth inning
after rallying off D-backs reliever David Hernandez.
Weep not for Kennedy, though, as he made the list three
other times – coming in eighth, 26th and 51st — due to
his performances against the Pirates, Phillies and
Nationals. The right-hander allowed 0 runs in in a
combined 24 innings of work, while surrendering just 10
hits and striking out 30.
Kennedy may have been the the D-backs’ best starter last
season, he wasn’t the only one to pitch a gem that made
Both Josh Collmenter and Daniel Hudson were ranked, with
the rookie being involved in games ranked 34th and 91st.
Collmenter, who got the loss against Tim Hudson on August
21st, tossed seven innings of one-run baseball, allowing
just four hits while striking out four. Hudson, though,
was even more dominant, allowing just three hits and zero
runs in seven innings of work. He struck out seven and
ended up getting the win. Things worked out better for
Collmenter earlier in the season on May 14th against the
Dodgers, though, when he out-dueled Chad Billingsley to
That wasn’t the only D-backs/Dodgers game on the list.
Hudson’s battle with eventual NL Cy Young Award winner
Clayton Kershaw was ranked 60th, though once again the D-
backs were on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
Arizona lost the game 3-2, though it’s hard to fault
Hudson as he gave up just two runs on five hits in seven
innings. The Dodgers’ Kershaw only lasted five innings,
but allowed just one hit, no runs and struck out five in
The Diamondbacks had one of the NL’s best pitching staffs
last season, though as this list shows, great efforts
didn’t always lead to wins.