Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, April 15 through Sunday, April 21. 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
One thing about games in which your teammates throw up 14 runs in the first two innings and 19 in the game is that you can get shellacked for six runs and fail to make it out of the fourth and you still don’t get a loss. Take a bow, Scott Kazmir.
David Price and Miguel Gonzalez were touched up for five runs each, Price in six frames, Gonzalez in five and two thirds. Darren O’Day and Jake McGee each blew a save and neither starter took the loss.
Gio Gonzalez was shelled for five runs in four frames. His opposing starter, Jeremy Hefner also lasted only four innings, allowing three runs. The bullpens took turns giving up runs and neither starter was given the loss.
Bad luck division
The day after Scherzer pitched his gem and failed to win, Justin Verlander gave the Tigers a nice start, going seven frames, allowing two runs, walking one, striking out 12. Detroit was shut out and Verlander took the loss.
Jeremy Guthrie and Kris Medlen combined to allow just four runs in 14 innings on 11 hits and one walk, striking out 11. Neither was credited with the win, which went to reliever Eric O’Flaherty because of Kelvin Herrera’s implosion.
Hector Santiago pitched an inning and two thirds. He was lifted after having retired the first two batters of the inning in succession for Matt Lindstrom. After Lindstrom threw three pitches to retire J.P. Arencibia, Dayan Viciedo plated a White Sox base runner to break the tie. Santiago had retired five batters. Lindstrom retired one and was given the win.
Wes Littleton Award
Please hold the applause
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Things John likes
I know I’ve been using this exclusively as a platform to recognize the relatively rare times when a manager has given a reliever long outings and I promise I will come up with something different soon. Either that or I will rename this category. But let me just point out that I like what Ron Gardenhire did on Tuesday with Anthony Swarzak.
After Mike Pelfrey scuffled through five innings, allowing four runs but still making it out of the game with a lead thanks to Jason Vargas and his own shelling, Gardy put Swarzak in to protect a three-run lead and didn’t lift him until the ninth inning, when he had put a couple of men on base with the heart of the Halos’ lineup coming up. Glen Perkins was the new pitcher, and while he allowed Mike Trout to drive in a couple of runs charged to Swarzak, I can’t fault anybody too much and I can’t minimize the leverage of coming into the game with two on and Trout and Albert Pujols coming to bat.
This is how middle relievers and swing men are supposed to be used. Instead of using five different bullpen pitchers who may or may not have their good stuff on that day, use the one guy who seems to be doing well and will keep you ahead with little fuss until he runs into a problem and then you bring in your bullpen ace to shut the other guy’s big, scary monsters down. And that is what happened here.
To that same end, I will also say it was cool to see the Orioles give the three-inning save to Tommy Hunter, closing out the Dodgers with three scoreless after entering with a five-run lead. I’m not sure I think that should be counted as a save, but I like what Buck Showalter is doing there. And the same goes to the Rangers and Michael Kirkman, who went three innings against Seattle after entering with an eight-run lead.
Joe Carter Award
J.J. Hardy inexplicably plated five runs for the Orioles while hitting .143/.208/.333 in 23 PA.
Allen Craig collected six RBI in 21 PA but batted an uninspiring .263/.333/.368.
Jeff Francoeur singled six times in 20 PA this week and did very little else. No extra base hits and no walks lead to an empty batting average. He ended the week with a .300/.300/.300 line.
Ryan Howard struggled along to the tune of .278/.263/.278.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Ryan Braun singled only once all week. On the other hand, he homered three times and drew five walks in his 25 PA for a .200/.360/.650 line.
Steve Balboni Award
At this point, we all know to expect Adam Dunn to show up here from time to time just because of his strikeout rate. The Big Donkey fanned in exactly half of his 22 plate appearances and ended the week batting .048/.130/.190.
Dunn’s teammate Alejandro de Aza had a bad week as well with 10 strikeouts in 23 PA and a .227/.261/.409 line.
Stephen Drew fanned nine times in 18 PA and went .118/.167/.176.
Chris Carter continued to strike out at staggering rates and continued to post horrendous triple slash lines with nine Ks and a putrid .053/.208/.053 line.
Josh Hamilton whiffed eight times and went .048/.130/.048 in 22 PA.
Justin Smoak posted a .182/.280/.182 with 10 strikeouts in 25 PA.
Will Middlebrooks fanned 11 times in 26 PA and ended the week at .080/.115/.080.
Three true outcomes
Kelly Johnson smacked two home runs, walked five times, and struck out nine times in 24 PA.
Braun posted a three-five-nine TTO line in his 25 PA.
Justin Upton went two-four-eight in 25 PA.
Arencibia is missing a category, but four-zero-10 in 28 PA is worthy of mention.
Joey Votto went two-five-seven in 31 PA.
Eric Young Jr. did not hit a home run or walk. He struck out once in 25 PA.
Ben Revere posted a zero-zero-three three true outcomes line in 25 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Napoli went .345/.406/.690 and boosted his season’s line for the Red Sox from .217/.234/.413 to .267/.304/.520.
NL: David Wright reached base 14 times, seven via hit and seven more via walk. He did not strike out all week. He also added two triples, two home runs, and two steals while putting up a .350/.519/.850 line for the Mets.