Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, April 29 through Sunday, May 5. 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
The A’s started Dan Straily on Monday. He was smacked around for six runs in four and two thirds. Oakland’s lineup came back to even the game in the ninth inning, taking Straily off the hook. Then the teams played 10 more innings.
Jon Lester gave up six runs in six frames on six hits and two walks. He was in position for the win at one point as David Ortiz and friends scored three runs in the seventh to put the Red Sox up by one. But Junichi Tazawa blew the save and Lester wound up with a really ugly no decision instead of an ugly, undeserved win.
Matt Magill failed to make it out of the second inning, allowing five runs. He walked four batters and was smacked around for six hits despite facing only 14 batters. Ryan Vogelsong was the opposing starter. He allowed seven runs of his own. Neither starter took the loss.
James McDonald and Marco Estrada combined to allow 12 runs in 10 innings of work on 15 hits and six walks, striking out nine. Each bullpen took its turn blowing the lead and neither starter walked away with the loss.
Dillon Gee posted a game score of 32 and got the win. Gee allowed four runs in five innings to Miami on nine hits and two walks, striking out only one. His counterpart, Wade LeBlanc avoided the loss as well despite the fact that he was touched up for four runs in five and two-thirds.
Bad luck division
Jeremy Hefner had thrown eight scoreless innings for the Mets, allowing only four hits, walking none, striking out eight. When the first two Marlins he faced reached base in the ninth inning, he was lifted for Brandon Lyon, who allowed both runners to score, ending the game. Lyon did not retire a batter. Hefner took the loss despite a 74 game score. On the other side in that game, Kevin Slowey put up eight innings of his own, allowing one run on four hits and no walks, striking out eight. He took the no-decision.
Clayton Kershaw failed to receive the win despite providing the Dodgers with seven innings of work allowing one run. The Dodgers were held to one run in the game by the Giants and Kershaw was not among the pitchers of record.
In the Jon Lester start above, Steve Delabar allowed a three-run double, blowing the lead for Toronto. Two of the runs were charged to Aaron Loup. An Edwin Encarnacion two-run home run handed Delabar the victory.
Wes Littleton Award
With a two-run lead, two out, and none on in the bottom of the ninth, Grant Balfour was called on to retire Eduardo Nunez. This is the same Eduardo Nunez who currently sports an 83 OPS+ in 576 career plate appearances.
Please hold the applause
Shawn Camp faced four batters in the seventh inning. Those four plate appearances went single, single, ground out, walk. At that point, Camp was replaced with James Russell, who helped the Cubs escape from this bases-loaded, one-out situation without yielding a run. Russell and Camp were each credited with a hold despite the fact that Russell was a magician and Camp was wretched.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Bronson Arroyo failed to strike out any of the 27 Cardinals batters he faced. Despite this, he allowed only five hits on balls in play and the only two runs he allowed were on a two-run home run by Matt Holliday.
Madison Bumgarner struck out two Diamondbacks out of the 24 he faced. With 21 balls in play, only three found their way safely to pasture and Bumgarner made it through his seven innings with no runs allowed.
Dylan Axelrod and Jeremy Guthrie combined to allow only 12 hits and two runs despite striking out only three of the 67 batters they faced. Just let that wash over you for a second. There were three strikeouts in the game and 12 hits combined between the two teams. The xFIPs for the two starters were 7.01 and 4.60 in the game.
Joe Carter Award
Brandon Belt popped two home runs and drove in six runs. He was a few singles shy of a good week. Instead, he posted a line of .176/.263/.529.
Edwin Encarnacion went .208/.240/.458 while driving in five runs.
Victor Martinez also plated five. He went .258/.258/.419.
Jhonny Peralta gave the Tigers eight hits in 27 PA. Unfortunately, only two of the eight went for extra bases, he drew only one walk, and was caught on his only stolen base attempt. .308/.321/.385.
Howie Kendrick went .303/.303/.394 in 33 PA.
Austin Jackson posted a .286/.310/.357 line in 29 PA.
Denard Span collected five singles and two doubles in 26 PA and that’s about it as he went .280/.308/.360.
Brandon Inge is back in the majors and he hit .278/.278/.333 in 18 PA for the Pirates this week.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Josh Willingham posted a very unconventional line for the Twins at .176/.391/.412 in 23 PA. He reached base by way of base on balls six times and via hit three times.
Michael Morse rapped out only five hits for the Mariners but two of the five were home runs and he also chipped in by drawing four walks in 25 PA for a .238/.360/.524 line.
Ryan Howard posted a .222/.333/.667 line in 21 PA.
Matt Joyce gave the Rays a line that was similar to Howard’s for the Phillies, but with two fewer doubles. He went .222/.333/.556 in 21 PA.
Nelson Cruz went .200/.360/.500 in 25 PA. Half of his four hits were home runs.
Steve Balboni Award
A.J. Pierzynski fanned seven times in 17 PA and as a result went .118/.167/.118.
Jay Bruce’s strikeout rate this year has jumped from a career rate (2008-2012) of 23.4 percent to 31.9 percent. The only thing that has kept his batting line above water this season is a jump in BABIP from .290 before this season to .379 in 2013. This week he struck out 11 times in 27 PA and posted a .222/.222/.370 line.
The Josh Hamilton strugglefest continued unabated this week: The Halos outfielder went .172/.219/.207 and whiffed nine times in 31 PA.
Jason Castro is this week’s Astros leader in strikeouts, which is quite an achievement when you are competing with Chris Carter and Carlos Pena. He struck out 12 times in 28 PA and gave Houston a .222/.250/.444 line.
Three true outcomes
Justin Ruggiano homered three times, walked four times, and struck out 11 times in 31 PA for the Fish.
For one week, Justin Upton didn’t homer, but he did walk five times and strike out eight times in 25 PA for the Braves.
Carlos Santana went two-seven-eight in the TTO categories in 27 PA.
Mark Trumbo gave the Halos a stout TTO performance with a five-seven-nine in 35 PA.
Willingham’s one-six-eight in 23 PA deserves mention here.
Robinson Cano gave a very atypical TTO line in that he homered once, walked once, and went the whole week without striking out in 26 PA.
Yadier Molina went zero-zero-three in 28 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Miguel Cabrera had a nice week, even by Miguel Cabrera standards, with six singles, two doubles, three home runs, and six walks in 32 PA. This all added up to a .432/.545/.846 line.
NL: Carlos Gomez had a nice week by anybody’s standards. Half of his 12 hits went for extra bases. He also chipped in with three walks and he was five for five in stolen bases. He posted a filthy .462/.533/.962 line for the Brewers.