Welcome to the awards.
All stats are still for the games starting Monday, Apr. 18 ending Sunday, Apr. 24. If you are a new reader, reference 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
Derek Holland was dinged for five runs in seven innings. Notable was the three-run Brayan Pena home run in the fourth inning. Jeff Francis, Blake Wood, and Nathan Adcock allowed 11 runs and made Holland a winner despite his otherwise subpar performance.
Yovani Gallardo may have had some bad luck on balls in play as he struck out seven in six frames, walking only one run, and keeping the ball in the park but still getting dinged for four runs on eight hits. That bad luck in his stat line did not infect his role in the outcome as he still got credit for the win over Houston. The 14 runs the Brewers scored on Astros pitching helped.
Ted Lilly allowed five runs on 11 hits in four and a third and he was arguably the more effective of the two starters in Saturday’s Cubs/Dodgers tilt. Ryan Dempster was tagged for seven runs on nine hits and three walks in five and two thirds. Because of Matt Guerrier’s five run implosion, neither starter figured into the decision.
Bad luck division
Brandon McCarthy gave the Athletics a complete game, allowing one run on four hits and a walk. He struck out six. Felix Hernandez and a pair of relievers combined to shut Oakland out and hand McCarthy the loss.
Tim Stauffer and Carlos Zambrano held down the Cubs and Padres offenses respectively for a combined 15 shutout innings. Zambrano struck out 10. The two pitchers walked two batters and allowed seven total hits between them. They each received no decisions in a game where the first and only run was scored in the 10th inning.
Continuing with Cubs/Padres, Dustin Moseley and Matt Garza traded zeroes with one unearned run charged to Moseley being the only dent either saw in their time on the mound. Garza was in line for the win when Carlos Marmol allowed a run to blow the save.
Josh Johnson held the Rockies to one run on three hits and three walks in seven frames. The lead was blown almost immediately after he left the game as Clay Hensley allowed two runs in the eighth and Johnson had to live with a no decision, and Mike Dunn, who pitched to two batters, got the win after a Marlins comeback.
Brandon Lyon blew the save, taking Brett Myers off the hook after the starter allowed five Brewers to score in six and a third. When Sean Green and Mitch Stetter allowed the Astros to score three in the 10th inning, it made Lyon a winner.
Wes Littleton Award
Brian Wilson came in to protect a three run lead against the Denver Rockies. He was brought in to face Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton, Chris Iannetta, and the pitcher’s spot. Iannetta was the only one to reach base, via walk. In came what is left of Jason Giambi, who made out three and Wilson had a save. Given the skills and stat lines of the three non-Iannetta batters he faced and the fact that he inherited a three-run lead, I am not impressed.
Please hold the applause
And for the first time this season, Miguel Batista accomplished my favorite statistical oddity, getting a loss and a hold in the same game. If you forgot how this is possible, he entered the game in a save situation, allowed base runners and was removed from the game with it still being a save situation, thus earning him the hold. The next pitcher in the game allowed those base runners to score, charging them to Batista and handing him the loss.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Joe Carter Award
Danny Valencia drove in six runs, but his week was poor in general, with a .250/.250/.375 line in 24 at bats.
You will see A.J. Pierzynski again in this column for reasons that are interconnected to this achievement. He failed to walk or hit for power but did put the ball in play, leading to his .333/.318/.333 line in 21 plate appearances.
Robinson Cano has secondary skills, but they didn’t show up this week. .333/.316/.389 in 18 plate appearances.
Darwin Barney is an outstanding name. But that name was connected to .321/.321/.357 this week.
I can’t be expected to pass up an opportunity to aim a jab at Yuniesky Betancourt. When he goes .308/.310/.385, he is giving me the green light to do so. Well done Yuni.
Erick Aybar .300/.300/.350.
Reid Brignac didn’t help the Rays much despite five hits in 17 at-bats. .294/.333/.294.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Pablo Sandoval collected only four hits, but two of them went for extra bases and he walked three times. On a side note, when most people say the name Pablo Sandoval, they think of Jack Black. I think of a guy with the same surname who hits really high notes on a trumpet.
Steve Balboni Award
Adam Dunn was here last week and he earned his way this week as well, going .091/.200/.136 with 10 strikeouts in 22 at-bats.
Orlando Hudson is not somebody you would expect to wind up here, but one-week samples lead to unexpected results: 10 strikeouts in 20 at-bats, .050/.208/.050.
Three true outcomes
Matt Kemp smacked two home runs, walked four times, and struck out 12 times in 34 PA.
Kevin Youkilis is missing a TTO category but making up for it with the other two. Three-zero-nine in 21 PA.
Alex Rodriguez only saw 14 PA, but he hit a home run, walked five times, and struck out twice.
A.J. Pierzynski went zero-zero-one in 21 PA.
Ichiro Suzuki has never been a TTO machine. Zero-one-one in 31 PA seems low even given his history.
Yuniesky Betancourt went zero-one-one as well.
Starlin Castro makes a third zero-one-one. He did it in 27 PA.
Jose Reyes went zero-two-one in 27 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: If you sold high on Jose Bautista in a keeper league expecting him to turn back into a pumpkin, you are probably gritting your teeth over that decision given how well last year’s out-of-nowhere breakout is doing in 2011. This week, he was simply out of his mind. He rapped out three singles, a double, a triple, and he homered four times. He also walked seven times in 26 PA for a .474/.615/1.263 line.
NL: Teammates Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder share the NL honors. Braun went .480/.533/.840 with three home runs and four walks in 29 PA. Fielder went .458/.552/.667 with three doubles, a triple, and four walks in 28 PA.