Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, April 8 through Sunday the 14. 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
Juan Nicasio and Tim Lincecum combined to allow 10 runs in 11 innings of work on nine hits and nine walks, striking out nine. Lincecum was on the hook for the loss until Adam Ottavino and Matt Belisle combined to allow enough runs to blow the save for the undeserving Nicasio.
Lincecum came back on Sunday and was involved in another game that fits the criteria. He paired up with Edwin Jackson to allow a combined nine runs on 10 hits and four walks. A series of three blown saves ensured that neither starter would take the loss.
Tommy Milone posted a 39 game score and still got the win thanks to his teammates, who blasted Joe Blanton for six runs and tacked on five more against the Angels bullpen. Milone yielded four runs on seven hits and three walks in five frames.
Jon Niese allowed five runs in five innings on five hits and four walks, striking out one. He got the win as the Mets bullpen tossed four scoreless innings in relief of Niese and the Mets lineup tallied 16 runs off Vance Worley and a quartet of Twins relievers.
Phil Irwin avoided the loss despite getting touched up for five runs in four and two thirds. He allowed six hits and issued four walks, striking out four. Jonathan Broxton allowed six runs to blow the save and eliminate the threat of the loss for Irwin.
Bad luck division
Josh Beckett threw eight and a third and allowed only one run on six hits and one walk, striking out nine. The Diamondbacks shut out the Dodgers. Beckett was the victim of a walk-off single by Paul Goldschmidt. Trevor Cahill, who pitched the first seven and a third for the Snakes also failed to take the win. Beckett took the loss.
Carlos Quintana gave the White Sox seven scoreless against Cleveland. He allowed only one hit, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out seven. The bad news is that he failed to get the win as Justin Masterson threw a complete game shutout for the Indians.
James Shields pitched a complete game, allowing three runs to the Blue Jays on two hits and three walks, striking out six. He took the loss as the Royals managed only two runs off R.A. Dickey and four Toronto relievers.
Ervin Santana pitched eight innings for the Royals, yielding two runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out four. He did not get the win. That went to Kelvin Herrera, who pitched the final inning before Alex Gordon’s walk-off single.
Jeanmar Gomez entered the game on Monday with a runner on first, a two run lead, and one out in the third inning, relieving Wandy Rodriguez, who left with a tight hamstring. Gomez proceeded to give up a single and a walk, loading the bases. Subsequent batters drove in a runner with a sacrifice fly and another with a single to tie the game. After Gomez pitched a clean fourth inning, the Pirates took the lead on an Andrew McCutchen sacrifice fly. They would hold that lead for the remainder of the contest and Gomez got the win.
Paul Clemens was credited with a relief win that makes Gomez look deserving by comparison. Astros starter Erik Bedard went four scoreless innings. Those scoreless innings, coupled with a beat-down of Mariners starter and reliever Brandon Maurer and Kameron Loe, gave Clemens an 11-run cushion to work with.
It was nearly impossible for him to fail, though he gave it a solid shot, yielding home runs to Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, and Michael Morse. By the time he left the game, the Astros were up 16-5. Clemens’ line was four innings pitched, six hits, five runs, one walk, zero strikeouts. He got the win because he was the first reliever out of the pen in an absurd blowout. Due to the complete lack of leverage, he had a zero WPA.
Tony Watson blew the save for A.J. Burnett, denying him the win and taking the ineffective Mike Leake off the hook for the loss. Watson received credit for the win after Andrew McCutchen’s solo home run gave the Pirates a lead that more effective relievers would maintain for the remainder of the game,
Wes Littleton Award
Brandon League got the save, but made it very, very interesting on Wednesday. He entered in the ninth with a three-run lead. He allowed a Nick Hundley double, an Everth Cabrera single, and a Will Venable single, driving in Hundley. Cabrera scored on a passed ball by A.J. Ellis.
Please hold the applause
Charlie Furbush faced only one Astros batter for his first hold of the season. That batter was Ankiel, who ended the day with a .071/.071/.286 line. Furbush was protecting a three-run lead with two out and nobody on base.
Kenley Jansen allowed a Martin Prado solo home run, a Miguel Montero single, and an Aaron Hill RBI double. Despite the two earned runs, he was credited with the hold as he entered the game with a thre- run lead.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Kevin Correia appeared here last week and he is back again with one strikeout among the 29 Kansas City batters he faced. He was punished with only three runs on eight hits and a walk. He took the loss because Ervin Santana went eight innings, allowing only one run and showing Correia what actual dominance looks like with seven punch-outs.
John Lannan and Ricky Nolasco allowed one run each when they combined to strike out three of the 48 batters they faced in the game. In their 12 innings of work, they allowed 10 hits despite 42 strikes in play.
Things John likes
I like that the Blue Jays used Aaron Loup for the three-inning save in Kansas City. Well I don’t like it as a Royals fan, but given that Loup gave the Jays three scoreless innings with a four-run lead, there’s a lot to like from a tactical perspective. Given that Loup isn’t the stereotypical long man out of the pen, having been used primarily as a one-inning reliever in the minors, this is somewhat out-of-the box thinking.
Joe Carter Award
If you had looked only at Elvis Andrus’ RBI total for the week and seen a six in the column, you might be surprised to pan over to look at his overall line and find a .231/.310/.231. He had the same number of total bases as runs batted in. It is also worth noting that he stole three bases in three attempts on the week. Without going through and finding every one of his at-bats, I would venture to say that he was probably unlucky on balls in play, as he struck out four times in 29 plate appearances.
It seems weird that Mark Reynolds plays the same sport as Andrus, let alone is a co-winner of the same award this week, given how different they are in size, appearance, and approach. But here we are, talking about both of them. Unsurprisingly, Reynolds went about his six ribbies in a different manner than we saw with Andrus. Reynolds had half of his four hits go for extra bases, one being a double and the other a home run. He posted a .222/.211/.444 line for Cleveland.
Shane Victorino collected six hits in his 20 plate appearances this week. None of those six were of the extra base variety. Victorino did walk, but only once. This all added up to a .316/.333/316 line.
With only one strikeout in 22 PA, Omar Infante did a great job at putting the ball in play. Unfortunately those balls in play didn’t do much for the Tigers as he went .286/.273/.286.
Carlos Gomez went .294/.294/.353 in 17 PA for the Brewers.
Chris Getz posted a .294/.294/.412 in 17 PA.
With 153 strikeouts last season, Mark Trumbo’s forte is not slapping out singles or posting empty batting average lines. This is a week of surprises though, which leads you to his .280/.308/.360 in 26 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
With a .200/.360/.550 line in 25 PA, Dexter Fowler put on a clinic for how to get on this list. Three of his four hits went for extra bases. Two of those three were home runs. He also chipped in five walks.
You could do a lot worse than Josh Willingham’s .235/.381/.471 line in 21 PA, and the Twins have a host of players who routinely do much worse than that.
Travis Hafner held up his end of the bargain in his platoon with a .231/.412/.692 week for the Yankees in 16 PA.
Jason Bay went .235/.350/.412 in 18 PA.
Steve Balboni Award
Rickie Weeks had a very rough week, striking out 11 times in 23 PA and scuffling to a .048/130/.095 line.
The week after I was thwarted in my attempts to trade for Anthony Rizzo in my keeper league, the Cubs first baseman fanned 10 times in 26 PA and posted an anemic .136/.269/.364 line for that other fantasy owner’s team.
Aaron Hicks might just be in way over his head at this point. He had a scary week: He struck out nine times in 18 PA and went hitless, ending the week at .000/.056/.000.
Tyler Flowers whiffed in half of his 18 PA and ended the week at .056/.056/.111.
Asdrubal Cabrera went .167/.250/.333. His eight strikeouts in 20 PA go a long way toward explaining that.
Three true outcomes
Chris Davis continued to do what Chris Davis has done this season, belting a pair of home runs, walking five times, and fanning nine times in 24 PA.
Fellow large humanoid named Chris, Chris Carter posted a TTO line of four homers, three walks, and eight strikeouts in 28 PA.
Dexter Fowler went two-five-seven in his 25 PA.
Joey Votto’s TTO line is overly weighted in walks, but one-12-four in 29 PA is a little ridiculous.
I mentioned Alcides Escobar above. The Kansas City shortstop went 25 PA without a home run, walk or strikeout.
Marco Scutaro went zero-zero-one in 26 PA.
And David Murphy posted a zero-zero-two in 28 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Prince Fielder found his way on base 22 times in 30 PA. He was hit by a pitch once, walked nine times, and reached on a hit 12 times. Half of those hits went for extra bases, two of those six were home runs. .632/.733/1.158 is special.
NL: Votto collected six hits and 12 walks and ended the week with a stellar, though unique .353/.621/.588 line in his 29 PA.