Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, May seventh through Sunday, May 13th. Please see the week one column for award definitions and explanations.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an arcane practice that must stop
Good luck division
Nick Blackburn was shelled for five runs on six hits, including three home runs. He walked three, struck out three, and walked away with the win as the Twins lineup scored seven against Kyle Drabek and the Blue Jays pitching staff.
Mike Minor lasted only four and two thirds against the Cardinals, allowing six runs on eight hits including three home runs. Going against Minor was Jaime Garcia, who was touched up for five runs in five and two thirds on nine hits and two walks. Garcia was in line for the win until Marc Rzepczynski blew the save. Both starters received no official blame in the form of a loss.
Bad luck division
A.J. Burnett struck out 10 with only one walk allowed in eight frames, only two runs against him. Despite his 71 game score, he did not receive credit for the win as Joel Hanrahan allowed two runs and blew the save in a span of 11 pitches.
Clayton Kershaw posted a 70 game score against the Giants and the very lucky Ryan Vogelsong. Kershaw struck out seven against only one walk, allowed only five hits in eight innings where his foes only scraped together two runs, both coming on a home run. He took the loss.
James McDonald tossed eight very nice innings, yielding only one run on four hits and two walks, striking out eight. But Bud Norris and three Houston relievers shut out the Pirates and McDonald took the loss.
Roy Halladay struck out 10 Padres in seven frames, walking one, limiting them to two runs. He was shackled with the loss as Edinson Volquez and three San Diego relievers held Halladay and his mates to one run in the game.
Wes Littleton Award
Casey Janssen’s first save of 2012 came against Oakland. To blow the save, he would have had to have allowed two batters to reach base and then a third to have driven them in and himself. The third batter he faced was Josh Reddick, who has slugged eight home runs this season. The two batters who needed to reach base were Jemile Weeks and Cliff Pennington, who ended the game with OBP’s of .266 and .268 respectively. Janssen sat them down 1-2-3.
Juan Cruz was protecting a three run lead in the ninth inning against the Astros. The four batters he faced were Justin Maxwell (current OPS+ of 81), Matt Downs, (74 OPS+), Chris Snyder (36), and pinch hitter Travis Buck (96). That was the sixth through ninth spots in the Houston lineup that night.
Please hold the applause
Jose Veras entered the game at the start of the seventh protecting a 1-0 lead against the Cubs. He retired one batter on a groundout before allowing a triple to Darwin Barney, then he hit Ian Stewart with a pitch, walked Rob Johnson before he was lifted for Kameron Loe. Loe allowed all three base runners to score on a David DeJesus grand slam. Loe got the hold. He would have received a hold and a loss had the Brewers not rallied to take him off the hook in what would end up a sloppy game where neither team was able to hold the lead until Brewers won it in 13 innings.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
John Danks allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings despite striking out only one of the 27 Cleveland batters he faced.
Vogelsong struck out one Dodger batter out of the 30 faced. He went seven and a third, walked three times the number of batters he fanned, was only punished with one run on eight hits.
Joe Carter Award
Miguel Cabrera drove in seven in 31 plate appearances. But he posted an OPS of .613.
Albert Pujols plated five runs in 27 PA while batting just .192/.222/.192. Man, I would not have believed you before the season if you had told me there would be a week with these two winning the Carter.
Sure Cabrera drove in enough runs to qualify for the Carter, but did you know that he also had an extremely empty batting average? It’s true. He smacked eight singles and only one extra base hit, a lone double. .290/.290/.323.
Tyler Pastornicky’s .300/.318/.350 in 21 PA is a good example of an empty batting average, but to be fair, National League shortstops are batting .249/.303/.362 this season, so how awful a week was it?
Kyle Seager went .278/.278/.389 for the Mariners.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Ryan Doumit collected only three singles in 27 PA. Fortunately he demonstrated secondary skills to spare with a triple, a home run, and six walks for a .238/.393/.476 line.
Andres Torres walked seven times and smacked a triple and a home run on his way to posting a .217/.400/.435 line in 30 PA.
Cody Ross went .200/.360/.450 in 22 PA.
Steve Balboni Award
B.J. Upton fanned 11 times in 22 at bats, which negated the good work he did in walking three times and going two for two in stealing bases. His .091/.192/.091 line was terrible.
Pedro Alvarez does two things. He strikes out and he hits towering home runs. This week he hit no home runs, which given 11 strikeouts in 23 PA, is informative when looking at his .095/.167/.143 line.
I rarely cite weeks where the batter only accumulates 12 PA. but in Cody Ransom’s case I will make an exception. Ransom struck out eight times and ended up with a .167/.167/.417 line.
Finally, Daric Barton spells neither his first or last name correctly, so I don’t feel badly about mentioning his eight strikeouts in 20 PA or his .056/.150/.056 week for the Athletics.
Three true outcomes
Josh Hamilton struck out a lot this week with 11 whiffs in 34 PA. But he had a spectacular week as he hit nine home runs and walked four times.
Keeping with the Orioles, it really is a special accomplishment to both allow five home runs in a start and to strike out 12. Sure, Colby Lewis is missing the walks, but thus is life. If he had walked batters, he never would have been in the game long enough to rack up the strikeout total he did.
Jed Lowrie hit no home runs, did not walk, and struck out twice in 25 PA.
Pujols went zero-one-one in 27 PA.
And Michael Brantley posted a zero-zero-three in 33 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Easiest. Award. Ever. When you rack up 43 total bases and 18 times on base in a week, you are most likely going to walk away with this one. Hamilton’s nine home runs are preposterous. His .467/.529/1.433 is ridiculous. I’ll stop talking like Don King now.
NL: In a normal week, Carlos Beltran would be the biggest story in the game. But with Hamilton launching nine bombs in a week, Beltran’s six looks insignificant by comparison. That is a shame as Beltran hit .360/.448/1.200 for the Cardinals and are a major factor in their continued post-Albert excellence. The guy is hitting .298/.406/.653.
I feel obligated to mention Andrew McCutchen as an honorable mention as he went .524/.600/1.000 himself.