Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, May 27 through Sunday, June 2. 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
Thanks to the fact that his teammates shelled Jose Fernandez for seven runs in three and a third, it didn’t matter that Jake Odorizzi allowed six runs in four innings of work. He didn’t receive the loss.
Paul Maholm was peppered with five runs in six innings on 10 hits and a walk yet he was still in line for the victory until Anthony Varvaro blew the hold. Brandon Morrow and Ramon Ortiz each had bad days at the office.
Kevin Slowey and Jeremy Hellickson combined to allow nine runs in 10 and two thirds on 15 hits and a walk, striking out seven. Hellickson was in line for the loss until the Miami bullpen coughed up the lead.
Scott Diamond and Alfredo Figaro each allowed four runs. Diamond pitched four and two thirds. Figaro went an even five. Neither took the loss. Their bullpens combined to allow three runs in 18 and a third.
Chris Tillman allowed six runs on eight hits and a walk in four and two thirds. He allowed home runs to four of the 22 batters he faced (three coming off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman) and still managed to avoid the loss.
A Scott Rice blown hold took Slowey off the hook after the Marlins starter was smacked around for six runs in four and a third. Lucas Duda, Omar Quintanilla and Ike Davis all hit home runs off of Slowey in the contest.
Bad luck division
Mariano Rivera’s first blown save of the season came at a bad time for Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda threw seven scoreless against the crosstown Mets, allowing only four hits, walking none, striking out seven. Matt Harvey did his best on the other side as well, holding the boys from the Bronx to one run in eight frames, striking out 10, walking one.
James Shields continued to receive little or no run support, tossing seven innings, allowing one run on the road in Arlington. He held the Rangers to five hits and a walk, striking out five. But Nick Tepesch held the Royals to one run in six and a third and Shields ended up with a no-decision.
Jeanmar Gomez and Rick Porcello are among the more unexpected pairings for this category this week but nonetheless they each pitched well, combining for 15 shutout innings, allowing six hits and two walks, striking out 13. The victory went to Mark Melancon in the Pirates bullpen.
Doug Fister shut out the Pirates for seven innings, striking out 12, walking one. But the Tigers did not score in the game. He not only had a game score of 80 but he also posted the highest WPA in the contest at 0.40.
Max Scherzer pitched eight innings and allowed three runs on only three hits and two walks. He struck out 10 and posted a 72 game score. Jose Valverde pitched the ninth inning and blew the save, taking away Scherzer’s win.
Wes Littleton Award
Of the three batters Glen Perkins faced on the way to his 10th save of the season, one was Ryan Braun acting as a pinch hitter. The other two were Jeff Bianchi and Alex Gonzalez. The three-run lead he was tasked with protecting stayed intact.
Please hold the applause
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Jeanmar Gomez struck out only two of the 24 batters he faced along the way in his seven scoreless innings. Only three balls in play found open pasture, a .143 BABIP.
Joe Carter Award
Chris Denorfia collected six hits in 21 PA but none of those hits took him past first base. Denorfia ended the week hitting .300/.333/.300.
Emilio Bonifacio went .280/.280/.360 in 25 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Mark Trumbo collected only two singles on the week in 27 PA. Luckily for the Angels, he added other stuff to that. He rapped out a double and two home runs and he walked five times for a .227/.357/.545 line.
Derek Dietrich rode three walks, a double, and a triple to a .231/.355/.346 week, which is nice for a rookie middle infielder.
Anthony Rizzo isn’t winning any trophies for .227/.320/.500, but Cubs fans will take it.
Derek Norris went .235/.350/.471 in 20 PA.
And James Loney posted an astonishing .192/.344/.615 in 32 PA for the Rays. Where did this come from?
Steve Balboni Award
Kottaras has always been a three true outcomes hitter. And when you are as pure a three true outcomes guy as he is, you will occasionally have weeks where the two positive sides of that three legged stool desert you and leave you with something like what Kottaras did this week, fanning 11 times in 17 PA, resulting in an ugly .118/.118/.176 line.
Dayan Viciedo struck out 10 times in 21 PA, leading to a .048/.048/.048.
Not even Dan Uggla’s five walks this week could save him from nine strikeouts in 22 PA. .059/.304/.059.
Travis Hafner took a page out of the Kottaras playbook, whiffing eight times in 13 PA for a .077/.077/.077 week.
John Buck continues to remember that he is still John Buck following his early season amnesia. He struck out eight times and posted a .192/.192/.231 line in 26 PA.
And Pedro Alvarez will hit some home runs from time to time but he too toes the line of effectiveness with a dismal contact rate. He didn’t do well this week, whiffing eight times in 18 PA and posting a .188/.278/.438 line for the Pirates.
Among other notable batters whose bad weeks were fueled by an inability to put wood to horsehide were Rick Ankiel, Gaby Sanchez, Drew Stubbs, Jason Kubel, Mike Napoli, Justin Upton, Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria, Scott Van Slyke, Mark Teixeira and Ronny Cedeno.
Three true outcomes
Miguel Cabrera went yard three times, walked three times, and struck out eight times in 34 PA.
Stephen Drew posted a one-five-eight TTO line in 29 PA.
Carlos Pena went two-four-eight in 31 PA.
Carlos Gonzalez went one-three-nine in 30 PA.
Jason Bay did his best to remind me that he is still earning a paycheck to play baseball for a living, going four-two-seven in 25 PA.
Shin-Soo Choo went one-four-seven in 30 PA.
Josh Willingham went two-four-seven in 32 PA.
Dexter Fowler posted a two-nine-four in 35 PA.
Joe Mauer went two-seven-six in 33 PA.
And Domonic Brown’s banner week included a seven-two-six in 29 PA.
Norichika Aoki did not hit a home run this week. He walked only once. And he did not strike out in his 29 PA.
Hosmer went zero-zero-three in 25 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Four of Chris Davis’ 13 hits were home runs. He posted a nice .481/.500/.963. But the story is in the other league as the only other American League batter in the top 10 in OPS among players with at least 25 PA was Napoli, who went .417/.462/.750 for the Red Sox. Davis’ teammate, J.J. Hardy finished just outside of that list at 11th with his .304/.429/.696. One of the reasons for the disparity is the fact that the Rockies played seven games at home against the Astros and the Dodgers.
NL: Domonic Brown came up in the TTO category, but here is where he shines, courtesy of the big-time power display. Brown blasted seven home runs in seven days and chipped in a triple and four singles for good measure. His astonishing .444/.483/1.296 week took his season line from .257/.296/.463 to .282/.321/.574. The entire Royals team hit 14 home runs in all of May. Brown hit half as many home runs in 29 PA as an entire team did in 967 PA.