Yes, the Arizona Diamondbacks had a truly miserable season. One that wasn’t filled with a lot to enjoy or like about. Regardless of how it may have seemed, this season did have many positives and highlights to remember and look back on. Venom Strikes is choosing to analyze this season, both the good and the bad. This article is about sorting through the pile of bad to find the gems of the season. There are more than you think too.
Venom Strikes has already written about how the Diamondbacks did in each month of the season, and how they did against every opponent. Arizona played plenty of great games in which they showcased the boatload of potential that the team has for the future. This was/is a very young team with loads of inexperience. It’s hard to truly get a young, inexperienced team up to MLB-caliber speed in the middle of the season. Also, it didn’t help that our coaching staff, minus Torey, was rather sub-par. At least most of that staff will not be back.
With that said, let’s go through the TOP-10 games of the 2021 Season:
#10: Tuesday, April 6th, 2021, @Colorado, Rockies: 8 Dbacks: 10 13 innings
The game in which Matt Peacock made his brilliant debut in the bigs by throwing 3 innings, getting the win, and hitting a single, and scoring the go-ahead run winds up in our #10 spot. This game was the team’s 2nd win in the early season. It was your typical high-scoring Colorado game, only this time, the Dbacks ended up on top. The game had it all, two blown saves by the Diamondbacks, a good start by Weaver, and great hitting by Ketel Marte and Stephen Vogt was a highlight for sure. It never hurts to beat your rival, doing it in extra innings with a rookie pitcher just makes it that much sweeter.
#9 Thursday, April 15th, 2021, @Washington, Nationals: 6 Dbacks: 11
On Jackie Robinson Day, the Dbacks had one of their best offensive games all season. Against former Dbacks ace Patrick Corbin, the team put up 10 runs over two innings. They wrecked Corbin’s night and ensured his rough start to the season would continue. Merrill Kelly wasn’t much better giving up 6 runs over 6 innings, but he did enough to earn the win. The real story and happiness were Andrew Young’s Grand Slam in the 2nd, Carson Kelly and Eduardo Escobar’s homers in the first, and Pavin Smith’s HR in the 8th. Every single starting position player aside from Asdrubal Cabrera got a hit. All of them except Cabrera and Nick Ahmed scored too. 6 different hitters had an RBI or more. It was a complete showing for the Dbacks offense, one we would see not nearly enough in 2021.
#8 Thursday, April 22nd, 2021, @Cincinnati, Reds: 11, Dbacks: 14 10 innings
Are you starting to sense a trend, I might be choosing games in which the Dbacks offense made an appearance. Can you blame me? That offense was seen less than Casper the Ghost during this season. Nonetheless, there will be pitching games later on. This game though was dominated by the offense once again, even if it required extra innings. The Diamondbacks blew up in the 6-7th innings by scoring 6 total runs. Then, in the 10th inning, they re-exploded by scoring 6 runs in that lone inning. Of course, it’s a good thing they scored 6 since the Reds scored 3 in the bottom of the 10th off our lovely bullpen. Anywho, This was David Peralta’s best game of the season. He had 5 hits, a triple, HR, and 7, yes 7 RBIs. Carson Kelly had a 2-run blast in the 10th as well. It was rather encouraging to see the Dbacks finish off the sweep of the Reds, one of only a few sweeps in the season that involved the Dbacks being on the right side of the sweep.
#7 Saturday, October 2nd, vs Colorado, Rockies: 2 Dbacks: 11
In the second to last game of the season, the Diamondbacks demolished their lowly rivals the Rockies. The team was led by Zac Gallen’s impressive 6 innings of 2-run, 2-walk, and 6-K’s game. Meanwhile, the Dbacks wrecked Antonio Senzatela’s final start of the year by scoring 6 runs in .2 of the 1st inning. They did that via Walker, Kelly, and Gallen’s doubles off of Antonio. Gallen, Kelly, Varsho, and Marte each had two RBIs. Additionally, Geraldo Perdomo got his first career triple in the game. As for the pitching, Arizona only needed three pitchers who shut down the Rockies. Way to go pitchers! And batters!
#6 Monday, June 21st, 2021, vs Milwaukee, Brewers: 1 Dbacks: 5
FINALLY, the streak ended. This is the game in that Arizona finally ended their 17-game losing streak. An amazing start by Merrill Kelly and a decent showing by the offense was enough to beat the 1st-place Brewers. Merrill went 7 innings allowing only 1 run, 1 walk, 7 hits, and 5 K’s to pick up his third win on the season. Our bullpen was surprisingly able to finish the final two innings. Combine that with some timely hitting with runners in scoring position, and 2 RBIs apiece from Marte and Ahmed, and you get a Dbacks win. This game is this high mainly because the team finally bounced back to some degree after such a devastating losing streak. They did it against a top team in the MLB too. I respect and love it.
#5 Sunday, May 30th, 2021, vs St Louis, Cardinals: 2 Dbacks: 9
As it just so happens to turn out, this game also broke a significant losing streak. It ended the team’s 13-game losing streak. So, why is this game above the other one? Well, it’s because of the way the team played. They dominated the Cardinals more than the Brewers. Additionally, they did via guys that weren’t expected to play that well. Matt Peacock and Riley Smith were the only pitchers the team needed to get through this game. This might’ve been Peacock’s best pitching performance all season as he went 6 innings with 2 runs allowed, no walks, and 6 K’s. Smith got his first save and pitched 3 scoreless innings with 4 K’s. It was a complete performance, one that I wish had continued. Meanwhile, the offense was led by Ketel Marte and Josh Reddick. Marte had a massive HR and scored 2 runs while driving in 3. Reddick had a double, 3 hits total, a run scored and an RBI. 7 Arizona hitters drove in a run, and 8 hitters got a hit. It was sadly one of the final games with Tim Locastro too. Alas, the team did great against a tough Cardinals team and showed the potential that has me excited for the years to come.
#4 Thursday, August 12th, 2021, vs Padres, San Diego: 3 Arizona: 12
The game that began the most magical series for the team started great. San Diego came to Arizona desperately needing a win and to “get right” and put their season back on track. Instead, what happened was the beginning of the end for their coaching staff and season. It feels rather nice to know Arizona had a significant factor in the Padres crumbling towards the end. Arizona smacked the Padres around in this game. It was the trio of Carson Kelly, Pavin Smith, and Josh Rojas that provided most of the damage. Josh had 4 hits, 2 runs, and 2 RBIs. Carson had 4 hits, 1 run, and 2 RBIs. Meanwhile, Pavin was a casual 3/5 with a run and 4 RBIs. Additionally, Peralta homered, Caleb Smith scored 2 runs, and 8 different Dbacks scored a run. 7 different players had a hit too. They smacked around San Diego’s top starter Yu Darvish too. It was impressive. Caleb Smith pitched the bulk of the innings after Matt Peacock’s opener. Smith got his fourth win after 5.1 innings of the 1-run ball with 5 K’s. All around, it was a wonderful performance to begin a wonderful series, more on this series later.
#3 Sunday, April 11th, 2021, vs Cincinnati, Reds: 0 Diamondbacks: 7
This was the first time in the 2021 season that the Diamondbacks shut out an opponent. They only shut out an opponent 4 times this year. This was Luke Weaver’s best pitching performance all year as he went 7 strong innings of 1-hit ball with 8 K’s and got his first win. Matt Peacock finished it off with 2 solid innings. Meanwhile, the offense was on all cylinders with Peralta and Escobar each homering. They both had a double as well. Every player in the starting lineup got a hit as well. 4 players had RBIs, and 5 different players scored. It was a total team effort against the Dbacks favorite opponent this past year, the Reds. This was early in the season and was a beautiful tease to what could’ve been had injuries not wrecked this team. Instead, a few weeks after this, the team began to suffer so many injuries that we had more players from the Opening Day roster on the IL than we did have healthy players from said roster. At least we got to enjoy one of a few masterful pitching performances on this list.
#2A & 2B, Sunday, April, 25th, 2021, @ATL, Game1: Braves: 0, Dbacks: 5, Game 2: ATL: 0, AZ: 7
You didn’t think I’d forget about these games, did you? Also, how could I choose between the two games? I mean, I didn’t want to separate them since they were on the same day, and the MLB refuses to acknowledge their 7-inning complete games as an actual entire game. Sigh. Anyways, the Diamondbacks killed it over these two games. In the first game of the double-header. Zac Gallen pitched magnificently over his complete-game shutout. He allowed one hit against the Braves and got his first win on the season. He had 2 walks and 6 K’s. It was a brilliant performance. Meanwhile, our offense had great days from Nick Ahmed and Kole Calhoun who each had two hits. Calhoun and Vogt homered as well. 6 of the team’s 9 batters had hits. It was a great performance all around, yet it got even better. In Game 2, Madison Bumgarner pitched, what I classify as a No-Hitter, against the Braves. It was the best pitching performance in his short time as an Arizona Diamondbacks player. He went all 7 innings, striking out 7 and allowing no walks. He pitched beautifully and showcased what he can do with the team. Plus, the offense kicked it into overdrive with a massive 5-run first inning. That propelled them to a 7-0 win. Pavin Smith and Ahmed led the way. Smith had 3 hits and an HR. Nick and Josh Rojas each had doubles and the former scored two runs while the latter drove in two runs. Once again, 6 hitters had a hit AND run scored at least, and 5 hitters had at least one RBI. It was truly a special day, yet not the most special day that the team had all season.
#1 Saturday, August 14th, 2021, vs Padres, San Diego: 0, Arizona: 7 NO-HITTER
The MLB might’ve said that Madbum’s No-Hitter was invalid, but they can’t say this one was. That’s because the rookie Tyler Gilbert making his 1st ever MLB start pitching a FULL 9 Innings, aka a complete game, No-Hitter. That’s right, he did it against the Padres, helping ensure their collapse towards the end of the season. No one expected this to happen, yet it did. It really did. It was the team’s first No-Hitter since 2009 (Edwin Jackson’s). Tyler pitched phenomenally in front of a great defense that held firm against hard-hit balls by the Padres offense. You could say that Tyler used the Force as this happened on Star Wars night. Gilbert gave up zero hits, 3 walks, and 5 K’s against the vaunted Padres offense. As for the offense, well they got to participate in the fun as well with a great showing. They scored 6 runs off of Joe Musgrove, knocking him out in the 5th. Every position player that played except for Asdrubal Cabrera got a hit. Drew Ellis hit his first MLB HR. Josh Rojas had a triple. VanMeter had three hits. 6 different Dbacks scored a run, and 5 had at least one RBI. It was the best night since that 2017 Wild Card game for Dbacks fans. It was truly special, and one that will last for a lifetime in a lot of people’s memories. Thank you, Tyler for providing the best game of the season to a weary fanbase.
I hope you guys enjoyed this top-10 games of the year article. If you have a different game you think should’ve been included in this top-10, let me know in the comments!
May the Force be with You…