Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, June fourth through Sunday, June 10th. 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
Ervin Santana got the win in Denver despite getting shelled by the Rockies for seven runs in five and two thirds. Christian Friedrich was taken behind the woodshed by Mark Trumbo and Torii Hunter and ended up getting charged with nine runs in four frames. I really wouldn’t accept too many excuses from the starters concerning the run-scoring atmosphere of Coors Field given that the two teams sent a combined eight relievers out there for eight and a third innings and they gave up two runs.
The Tigers shelled Jeanmar Gomez for six runs in five frames. Gomez gave up two home runs and didn’t strike a single Detroit batter out. But the bad version of Max Scherzer showed up and eight runs later, Gomez had a lead that the Cleveland bullpen would not relinquish.
Never mind that Hector Noesi allowed six runs in four innings. Noesi walked five batters and struck out only one Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim, Rialto, Chino, and greater Searles Valley. Did I mention he received a no-decision thanks to Jerome Williams allowing seven runs?
Lucas Harrell was punished by the White Sox for five runs in seven and a third. But Humber struck again, yielding six in five and a third, allowing home runs to the murderer’s row of J.D. Martinez, Justin Maxwell, and Brett Wallace. Harrell got the win.
Joe Blanton allowed the Orioles to put five runs on the board in six and two thirds. But Jake Arrieta was hammered for nine runs in four frames and as bad as Blanton was, it wasn’t bad enough to deny him the victory.
Bad luck division
Neither starter in this week’s combined no-hitter allowed a run or received a win for their work. As you know already, Kevin Millwood gave the Mariners six innings without allowing a hit. He walked one and struck out six. Nate Eovaldi also went six, struck out six, walked two, and gave up five hits. Millwood’s game score was 77. Eovaldi’s was 66.
Marc Rzepczynski allowed a single and a Scott Hairston home run to blow a two run lead he had inherited from Kyle Lohse. Rzepczynski was rewarded with a win after Allen Craig launched a two run home run in the next half inning and subsequent Cardinal relievers took better care of his lead.
Wes Littleton Award
Please hold the applause
Mike Adams was credited with his 10th hold of the season. He walked Jonny Gomes, who then foolishly attempted to steal second base and was caught in doing so. By the way, lets unpack that decision for a second. Oakland was down by three runs with six outs remaining at their disposal. And Jonny Gomes decides that advancing from first base to second base at the risk of the out was worth it. This isn’t exactly Emilio Bonafacio, who has 20 steals this year with only one caught stealing. This is Jonny Gomes. Well, Kila Ka’aihue and Kurt Suzuki soon followed with more conventional outs and Adams had the hold. This was not a challenging hold for Adams. The only batter who was a big threat got himself out being “aggressive” on the bases.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Bud Norris struck out 12 of the 24 Cardinal batters he faced. He walked none, but he still gave up four runs on seven hits. The two most damaging hits were a pair of home runs. He gave up those two home runs despite not allowing many fly balls. He only recorded one fly ball out, though granted because of the strikeouts he didn’t have many of any one particular kind of batted ball, which is kind of the point. He generated a lot of strikeouts, but when he wasn’t striking a batter out, it was trouble.
Joe Carter Award
Among the batters who drove in six runs on the week were Andre Ethier, batted .077/.172/.231, Rafael Furcal, who went .200/.219/.300, Ian Kinsler, who hit .233/.258/.400, and Ben Zobrist, who posted a .348/.406/.433. One of these things is not like the other.
Endy Chavez rapped out eight hits in 28 plate appearances. That is very good. The bad is that none of the eight hits went for extra bases and he walked only once, leading to a .296/.321/.296 line.
Garrett Jones went .294/.278/.353 in 18 PA.
Shin-Soo Choo posted a .286/.286/.357 line for Cleveland, which is odd given his career walk rate of 11.5 percent of plate appearances.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Three of Matt Joyce’s four hits went for extra base hits and he walked four times. .222/.364/.611 in 22 PA gets the job done.
Steve Balboni Award
Cody Ransom fanned nine times in 21 PA and ended the week at .176/.333/.235.
Ian Stewart’s .200/.259/.280 goes hand in hand with his 11 strikeouts in 27 PA.
Dexter Fowler went .158/.238/.263 with nine strikeouts in 21 PA.
Adam LaRoche struck out eight times in 25 PA and ended the week at .125/.154/.375.
Three true outcomes
Adam Dunn sent three home runs on their way, walked twice, and struck out eight times in 25 PA.
Trumbo posted a four-three-eight in 27 PA.
Andrew McCutchen posted a two-three-seven in 22 PA TTO line.
Dan Uggla went three-six-six in 25 PA.
He only hit one home run, but Jay Bruce’s seven walks and seven strikeouts make up for that in 26 PA.
Ben Revere went zero-one-zero in 25 PA for the Twins.
Similarly, Juan Pierre went zero-one-zero in 28 PA.
Gordon Beckham went zero-zero-two in 26 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: It has likely been a long time since Torii Hunter had a week like this one. The aging outfielder smacked four home runs and seven singles. He also stole a base and walked twice in 24 PA for a .500/.560/1.045 line. His teammates Trumbo, Albert Pujols, and Mike Trout went .292/.370/.833, .400/.414/.760, and .520/.567/.600 and finished the week as the top four American League batters in OPS, minimum 25 PA. Unsurprisingly, the Angels scored at least six runs in every contest and went 5-1. Their weekend series in Denver resulted in back to back double digit run games.
NL: I am giving Michael Bourn the edge here over his teammate Uggla given the differences in their defensive abilities and the advantages of extra plate appearances and a higher OBP. Bourn hit .500/.536/.769. On the down side, he was caught in two of his three attempts to steal a base this week. And he hit two fewer home runs than Uggla put on the board in his .316/.500/.842 week. That really is the quintessential good Dan Uggla week, isn’t it?