Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, May 20 through Sunday, May 26. Please see the week one column for category explanations.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an archaic practice that must stop
Good luck division
Brandon Morrow came out on the winning side despite getting shelled for six runs in seven innings on 10 hits. He allowed home runs to Chris Davis, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones. He allowed three doubles to Manny Machado and another to J.J. Hardy. But because his teammates scored 12 runs off Kevin Gausman and a trio of Baltimore relievers, Morrow got the win.
Hisashi Iwakuma and Scott Kazmir combined to pitch nine innings, yielding 10 runs on 14 hits and five walks, striking out eight. Neither took the loss. Both bullpens took their turns blowing leads in a game where the FanGraphs win probability chart looks like the EKG of somebody experiencing some sort of cardiac event.
I’m not used to including Justin Verlander in this category but here he is. And he is deserving after having allowed five runs on 10 hits in five innings and still getting the win thanks to the demolition of Ubaldo Jimenez by his teammates.
Jason Marquis didn’t make it out of the fourth inning, having allowed four runs. But the loss went to Tommy Layne, who I had never heard of before just minute ago when I saw his name in the box score, but who nevertheless threw two and a third in relief, allowing one run and providing a basically neutral WPA.
Bad luck division
Stephen Strasburg and Matt Cain combined to throw 14 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, walking five, striking out 14. Neither got the win. Strasburg was in line for the victory until Rafael Soriano blew the save.
James Shields continued to receive minimal run support with the Royals. He gave the team seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, walked nobody, and struck out seven. He took the loss as the Royals scored one run in a game in which the starting pitcher they faced was Jordan Lyles.
The Royals actually lost games this past week with the following opposing starters: Dallas Keuchel, Lyles, Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas, Billy Buckner and Jerome Williams. This week they face the Cardinals and the Rangers a total of seven times.
Jeff Samardzija took the loss despite allowing only one run in seven innings on three hits and a walk. He struck out eight and posted a 74 game score as the Cubs were shut out by Francisco Liriano and the Pirates.
Marco Gonzalez went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits, walking none, striking out five. He didn’t factor in the decision as the Orioles waited until the ninth inning to tally their third run against the Yankees.
Gio Gonzalez and Madison Bumgarner combined for 14 and a third innings of work, allowing two runs on eight hits and four walks, striking out 10. Neither was credited with the win as Drew Storen blew the hold for Gio.
A.J. Burnett gave the Pirates a quality start, going seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks, striking out six. He took the loss as Marco Estrada and a quartet of Brewers relievers held Pittsburgh to one run in the game.
Ricky Nolasco gave the Marlins seven and two thirds, allowing one run on eight hits, walking none, striking out six. He took a no-decision as Jake Peavy threw a complete game, holding the fish to one run.
In Iwakuma’s second start of the week, he took the no-decision despite holding the Rangers to two runs in eight innings, posting a 72 game score.
Shaun Marcum and Julio Teheran combined to throw 13 and two thirds, allowing three runs on nine hits, walking three, striking out 17. Neither got the win as the Mets bullpen blew the lead for Teheran. Marcum posted a game score of 73 and was in line for the loss.
After Kazmir got shelled, the win went to Joe Smith, who pitched the 10th inning for Cleveland and turned a game that was tied at six into one where his team was down by a run courtesy of a Justin Smoak solo shot. In the bottom of the 10th, Yan Gomes hit a walk-off three-run home run and Smith got the win.
The only two pitchers in the game for either size that you could make a convincing argument for deserving the win were Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw, who pitched two scoreless frames each and combined to strike out five Mariners. Neither of them got the win but the guy who was bailed out by a home run from the ninth spot batter, a backup catcher, got the victory.
Wes Littleton Award
Cory Gearrin’s first career save came as he recorded one out after he had been brought in with a four-run lead, two on, and two out in the ninth inning. He retired Oswaldo Arcia, who has since been sent back to Rochester.
Please hold the applause
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Joe Carter Award
Only one batter drove in more runs than David Murphy did this past week. That was Miguel Cabrera, who posted a 1.300 OPS. Including Murphy, 12 batters plated seven runs. Every one of them posted much better lines than Murphy’s .250/.250/.417.
J.J. Hardy drove in six runs in 31 plate appearances and reached base a total of eight times.
Adam Dunn went .091/.200/.364 in 25 PA and still managed to drive in five runs. Two hits drove in all five runs, but they had to because they were the only two hits he produced. Those two hits were home runs.
Marcell Ozuna had eight hits in 25 PA. Unfortunately only one of the eight was for extra bases and he drew no walks, resulting in a .320/.320/.360 line.
Jimmy Rollins went .286/.286/.357 in 28 PA. He also was caught in his only attempt to steal a base all week.
Dayan Viciedo posted a .273/.304/.364 line in 23 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Carlos Santana reached base safely via a hit in only six of his 32 PA, but of the six, one was a double and another was a home run. He also walked seven times and ended the week at .240/.406/.400.
Steve Balboni Award
Adam Dunn made the Carter category. He makes this one as well, striking out in 10 of his 25 PA.
Matt Kemp has had a rough year. He had an even rougher week, fanning 10 times in 22 PA, going .211/.318/.368.
You can take the Rick Ankiel out of Houston but you can’t take the Houston out of Rick Ankiel; the outfielder went down on strikes eight times and batted .190/.261/.381 in 23 PA.
Three true outcomes
Dan Uggla smacked three home runs, walked twice, and struck out seven times in 23 PA.
Dunn went two-three-10 in his 25 PA to make his third category.
Josh Hamilton went three-four-eight in 26 PA.
Josh Willingham tossed up a three-four-eight TTO line in 29 PA.
Chris Davis gave the Orioles a four-six-seven in 31 PA.
Miguel Cabrera went three-five-five in 27 PA.
Jason Castro had a rare good week for the Astros, going three-three-five in 22 PA.
Jose Bautista did what Jose Bautista is known to do, going two-five-six in 33 PA.
Joey Votto produced a two-six-seven in 27 PA.
Pedro Alvarez went two-three-seven in only 19 PA. He produced an astounding .188/.316/.625 line.
Carlos Santana went one-seven-six in his 32 PA.
And Travis Hafner popped a one-five-six in his 27 PA.
Martin Prado did not homer or walk and struck out only once in 25 PA.
Manny Machado went zero-zero-two in 33 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: There were five notable American League batters who posted an OPS this week over 1.300. I have already mentioned Miguel Cabrera, who went .364/.481/.818 for the Tigers, which is exceptional but not exceptional enough.
Then there is Kendrys Morales, who raised his line from .260/.349/.416 to .293/.369/.475 with a single great .481/.500/.815 week.
Next we have Jose Bautista, who collected 14 hits and five walks in 33 PA for a nice .500/.576/.750.
Chris Davis smacked five singles, three doubles, and four home runs, walking six times for a .480/.581/1.080 line, reminding us all of how great he was at the start of the season.
And lastly, Mike Trout gave us some of everything, lighting up for seven singles, a double, two triples, two home runs, two walks, and a perfect four-for-four in the stolen base department. He hit .462/.500/.885 in 28 PA.
NL: The National League had a much less spectacular week when it comes to star level performances. Its fifth best OPS came at the hands of Carlos Gonzalez, who hit three home runs but posted an OBP under .300.
Votto gets the nod here with a very nice .381/.519/.667 in 27 PA. He currently leads all National League qualified batters in OBP by 38 points and as second place is held by Shin-Soo Choo, he is 73 points ahead of anybody who isn’t in the Cincinnati lineup.