Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, April 22 through Sunday, April 28. 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
Max Scherzer was knocked around by the Royals for five runs in five frames on seven hits and three walks. He was credited with the win as his Detroit teammates pounded Wade Davis to the tune of seven runs in three and two thirds.
Josh Stinson gave up four home runs to the Blue Jays. He was punished with five runs in five and two thirds and is back in the minors as I write this. He did not receive the loss thanks to Brandon Morrow and Aaron Loup.
Bad luck division
Mike Leake threw seven innings, yielding two runs on eight hits and two walks. He took a no-decision as the Reds lineup waited until the 12th inning to score its third run off Travis Wood and the Cubs.
Justin Verlander’s impending victory was denied when Bruce Rondon allowed a run for what we all agreed earlier in the season would be termed a blown hold. Verlander yielded only one run in seven innings on eight hits and one walk.
Tim Lincecum went seven innings, allowed two runs on six hits and three walks, striking out nine. He took the loss as the Giants could manage only one run against Andrew Cashner and a quartet of San Diego relievers.
Jake Westbrook went six innings and allowed no runs. He allowed only six base runners and only one of those base runners touched second base. He struck out six and walked none. All six hits against him were singles. And he got the no-decision because Joe Kelly blew the hold and ended up taking the loss when Trevor Rosenthal allowed both of the runners inherited from Kelly to score.
Jason Vargas held the Mariners to two runs on Sunday, posting a 67 game score but still ending up with the loss. Hisashi Iwakuma held the Angels scoreless and posted a game score of 72 in only six innings, having struck out eight and walked none. He also did not get the win.
Kyle Lohse went seven innings, allowing only two solo home runs to the Dodgers. He had no chance for the win, as Clayton Kershaw was brilliant, throwing the first eight innings of a shutout, striking out 12 Brewers and walking none.
Carlos Marmol blew his second save of the season by allowing an inherited runner to score on a single by Joey Votto, the first batter Marmol was brought in to retire with two on and one out. Darwin Barney hit a solo home run and the Cubs added another run for good measure in the next half inning to hand Marmol his second victory of the season.
Wes Littleton Award
Please hold the applause
J.P. Howell walked the first two batters he faced and retired only one. He was charged with a run as one of the two base runners he bequeathed to Ronald Belisario came around to score. Howell received a hold for his work.
Tim Collins entered the game with a four-run lead, two on and two out and Michael Brantley at bat. He retired Brantley and picked up the hold in a game where the final score was nine to zero and where he contributed a 0.03 WPA.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
In the more traditional context, Kevin Correia struck out two of the 30 Rangers he faced and managed to tiptoe his way through eight scoreless innings for the win, seeing only six hits fall safely in play for a .222 BABIP.
Things John likes
So Blue Jays prospect Griffin Murphy has taken to growing an old-timey waxed mustache. I have long been a supporter of the reliever mustache concept and facial hair for players in general. Beyond that, this is even more contrived and silly than the beards of Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson. It also seems like he has put some thought and effort into it as opposed to whatever it is that Carlos Villanueva is doing with this handlebar and the unconnected full beard combo.
Joe Carter Award
Seth Smith plated six runs and posted a .150/.292/.450 line for the Athletics.
Oswaldo Arcia went .227/.261/.500 and drove in six.
And Lance Berkman went .208/.296/.375 and somehow managed to collect five ribbies.
Alex Gonzalez singled five times in 16 PA. That was the extent of his positive contributions to the Brewers offense. He did not walk or smack any extra base hits or even lean in and get hit by a pitch. He ended the week at .313/.313/.313.
Denard Span went .290/.290/.355 in 31 PA, though he did go two for two on the base paths.
Juan Pierre is still doing Juan Pierre things. .278/.278/.333 in 18 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Josh Willingham singled only once all week. Unlike Gonzalez, he contributed by lacing a double and a pair of home runs. He also walked twice in his 19 PA and stole a base.
Half of Matt Joyce’s four hits were home runs and he walked four times, resulting in a tidy .222/.364/.556 line.
Paul Goldschmidt went .240/.387/.520 in 30 PA. He homered twice, walked five times, and stole a base.
Stephen Drew aided the Red Sox by posting a solid .222/.364/.444 line. Interestingly, he tripled twice.
Steve Balboni Award
Dan Uggla walked twice, doubled, and homered. And that still wasn’t enough to keep his batting line for the week from looking unsightly at .158/.238/.368 in 21 PA. The reason is that he struck out 11 times. He fanned in more than half of his plate appearances.
Welington Castillo was set down on strikes 10 times in 22 PA, leading to a .182/.182/.227 week.
Alejandro De Aza has been striking out a lot more than he ever has, fanning in a full 30 percent of his PA as opposed to career rate of 20.4 percent. This week, he whiffed nine times in 25 PA and posted a .217/.280/.261 line in 25 PA.
Mark Trumbo struck out 12 times in 28 PA and went .214/.267/.357.
Desmond Jennings went down on strikes nine times in 24 PA and ended the week at .182/.308/.364.
Among others who put up terrible lines while not being able to make consistent contact were Brandon Laird, Mike Trout, Carlos Pena, Rickie Weeks, Brett Gardner, Matt Weiters, Fernando Martinez, Freddie Freeman, Carlos Gonzalez, B.J. Upton, and Anthony Rizzo.
Three true outcomes
Chris Davis was a TTO hero this week with two home runs, four walks, and 10 strikeouts in 28 PA.
Adam Dunn went yard twice, walked six times, and struck out four times in 25 PA.
Nelson Cruz went two-five-six in 30 PA.
Jose Bautista went three-two-eight in 29 PA.
Brandon Phillips went zero-one-one in 29 PA.
Dustin Ackley also posted a zero-zero-one. He did it in 26 PA.
Elvis Andrus went zero-zero-two in 28 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Josh Donaldson was out of his mind this week. Donaldson reached base safely 12 times via hit and another seven times by way of base on balls. Seven of his 12 hits were doubles. He posted an R-rated .545/.633/.864 line in 29 PA. He posted a .864 slugging percentage without hitting a home run all week.
Nate McLouth also had a good week, going .545/.615/.818 in 26 PA. He also went four for four stealing bases.
NL: I’m calling three-way co-MVPs here with Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, and Justin Upton doing quite well. Harper went .333/.481/.810 in 27 PA. Stanton gave the Fish a .364/.462/.818 25 PA. Upton went .333/.440/.810 in 24 PA.