Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, May 28th through Sunday, June third. 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
Phil Hughes was blasted for seven runs in five and a third on 11 hits. But a steady trickle of runs for the Yankees against the Angels bullpen culminating in a Jason Isringhausen blown save took Hughes off the hook for the loss.
Jeremy Guthrie was touched for five runs in seven innings in what was mercifully the final game of a four game set at Coors Field between the Rockies and the Astros. The other three games are all found above. Guthrie got the win despite striking out only one Houston batter. If you are curious why, look for Bud Norris’ game score of four as an explanation.
Despite leaving Coors, the Astros continued to play as if there were still at Coors circa 1999 as Wandy Rodriguez again combined with the opposing starter to get collectively blown up and avoid the loss. This time the other pitcher was Mat Latos and the two of them yielded an astounding 16 runs in eight and a third. Wandy alone gave up four homers accounting for seven runs.
Hector Noesi and Gavin Floyd were shelled for a combined 11 runs in nine and a third on 16 hits. Seven of the 16 were homers. But Jesse Crain blew his second save in as many days and neither starter took the loss.
Bad luck division
Ryan Vogelsong tossed seven innings, allowing only one run on six hits and three walks. He struck out eight Diamondbacks. He did not get the win as the Giants offense struggled to score against the inexplicably effective Joe Saunders and a pair of relievers before eventually scoring two runs off Bryan Shaw to give Clay Hensley the win after Vogelsong had exited the game.
Travis Wood gave the Cubs seven solid innings in San Francisco, yielding only one run on three hits and two walks, striking out seven. But Wood took the loss as the bats were stymied by Barry Zito and Chicago was shut out.
When starter Jose Quintana was ejected in the fourth inning, Nate Jones inherited a two run lead. He threw two frames, giving up two runs on a Carlos Pena home run, but managed to maintain the lead thanks to an Alexei Ramirez run scoring single. Subsequent White Sox relievers maintained the lead and Jones got the win for pitching two innings and yielding two runs.
Wes Littleton Award
Hisashi Iwakuma entered the game in Arlington protecting a 17-5 lead. He actually pitched poorly, allowing three runs to score, but as he finished out the final three innings of the game, he got the save in what ended up being a 21-8 bloodbath. He recorded a 0.00 WPA.
It seems a bit of an overreaction for Clint Hurdle to have pulled Tony Watson with two out in the ninth and a three run lead. Hurdle brought in Joel Hanrahan to close out Cincinnati at that time. I feel fairly certain that Watson could have retired at least one batter before yielding three runs given that there was only one man on base and the next four batters up for the Reds were Ryan Hanigan, Zack Cozart, Drew Stubbs, and the pitcher’s spot before the big, scary monster known as Joey Votto would come to the plate. But when you are a major league manager, you bring in your closer when it is the ninth inning and it is a save situation. Watson had yielded a run and turned a four run lead into a three run lead and therefore a save situation. So you bring in the closer. It is just what you do. Don’t ask questions. Just do what the other guys do.
With a five run lead, Clay Rapada entered the game for the Yankees to close out the ninth inning. He walked Alex Avila, induced a fielder’s choice from Ramon Santiago, advanced Santiago to second base with a wild pitch, yielded a single to Quinton Berry, than walked Danny Worth. At that point with the bases loaded, Rafael Soriano entered the game as it was now a save situation with the tying run in the on deck circle. And he induced a Miguel Cabrera double play.
Please hold the applause
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
I am far from the first to say that every no-hitter has more than its fair share of luck. It rings true because nobody has ever struck out all 27 batters in succession. You always have something akin to the blown call on the Carlos Beltran line drive down the third base line. And despite the eight strikeouts, Johan Santana’s no-hitter involved more luck than most. With Santana walking five Cardinals, you already have a huge dose of luck. Taking out the eight strikeouts and five walks, you end up with an oh-for-19 with balls in play.
One interesting piece of information from that game is that only three of those 19 balls in play were hit on the ground and I wonder how much that actually helped him given that fly balls tend to have lower BABIP rates and that Citi Field is even more hostile to scoring runs on fly balls than most stadiums.
Cole DeVries struck out one of the 21 Oakland batters he faced. He walked five, hit one more with a pitch, but the fact that he only was touched for two hits in that time enabled him to keep the A’s scoreless.
Joe Carter Award
Brandon Phillips was third in all of baseball with nine runs batted in. He hit for a fair amount of power, but was completely incapable of getting on base. He ended the week at .292/.280/.500 in 25 plate appearances.
Adrian Gonzalez plated six runs, but hit .267/.267/.467 for the Red Sox.
Carlos Lee rapped out seven hits in 22 plate appearances, which is good. However only one of those hits went for extra bases and he failed to draw any walks, leading to a .318/.318/.364 line.
Lee’s teammate Jordan Schafer posted a .290/.281/.355 line for Houston.
Harmon Killebrew Award
David Wright had some bad luck on balls in play, only striking out once in 26 plate appearances but only getting five hits. But his four walks, three doubles, and a home run salvaged what might have otherwise been a disastrous week. .227/.346/.500.
Jose Bautista posted a nice, but very unconventional line of .200/.333/.550 thanks to four walks and two home runs in 24 PA.
Steve Balboni Award
Adam Dunn had some moments this week, but I am still counting his .091/.310/.364 with 13 strikeouts in 27 PA as a qualified week here.
Kelly Johnson hit a home run, stole a base and ended with a nice slugging percentage, but 11 whiffs in 22 PA sabotaged his ability to get on base, leading to .238/.273/.476.
Cody Ransom requires no qualifiers this week. He just got dominated. .045/.192/.045 with 10 strikeouts in 26 PA.
B.J. Upton fanned nine times and ended the week with a .136/.208/.182 line in 24 PA.
Three true outcomes
If you thought Adam Dunn could hit two home runs, walk seven times, and strikeout 13 times in 29 PA and not get first billing in TTO, I welcome you to the internet. Now go spend the next three days looking at the Google results for “Funny Cat Videos,” start using the word “fail” as a noun and you will be caught up. I’ll wait and be here when you return.
Lucas Duda posted a three-three-nine TTO line in 24 PA.
Dexter Fowler went two-six-seven in 33 PA for the Rockies.
Justin Smoak went three-six-five in 29 PA for the Mariners.
And although he is missing some of the walks it usually takes to earn consideration in the category, Curtis Granderson’s three-one-nine in 29 PA is enough to merit a mention.
Placido Polanco and Brandon Phillips each went zero-one-one. Polanco did it in 27 PA while Phillips managed it in 24.
Jose Altuve went zero-zero-two in 33 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: David Ortiz had a very nice week. He smacked six singles, three doubles, and three home runs. He also walked three times. .His line was 385/.448/.846. I would make fun of everybody for declaring his career dead a couple years ago, but I’m pretty sure I dumped a couple shovels worth of dirt into the grave myself.
NL: Hanley Ramirez was pretty incredible this week with seven extra base hits. The third baseman smacked the ball around to the tune of .500/.500/1.125 in 25 PA.
I would be remiss if I failed to give an honorable mention to Rockies teammates Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez. Fowler went .556/.636/.963 while CarGo hit .500/.531/1.000.