Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, June 18th through Sunday, June 24th. 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
Clay Buchholz was slammed for five runs in six innings. A more specific accounting would be that Logan Morrison ran Buchholz from the game with two doubles and a three run home run. But as bad as Buchholz was when Morrison was at the plate, Mark Buehrle was that bad when nearly any Boston batter was at the plate, allowing six runs in five innings. Notable were the three homers he allowed. With help from the Red Sox bullpen, Buchholz walked away with the win.
Mat Latos and Derek Lowe combined to allow 14 runs in nine innings on Monday. The 14 runs came on 19 hits. They combined to strike out six batters and allow four home runs. Neither starter got the loss in the battle for Ohio.
A Brewers blown save took Henderson Alvarez off the hook for the loss after Alvarez was shelled for six runs in four frames on 11 hits and two walks. He struck out only one of the 24 batters he faced.
Jesse Chavez didn’t make it out of the third innings before getting lifted, having yielded four runs. His counterpart, Tyler Thornburg was smacked around for five runs in five and a third. Thornburg allowed four home runs. But neither starter was shackled with the loss as the bullpens took turns blowing the lead.
C.J. Wilson got the win over San Francisco despite allowing five runs in six and a third. Barry Zito allowed the Halos to plate eight runs and Clay Hensley allowed another three out of the bullpen and the Giants were never really in the game.
Bad luck division
Jake Peavy gave the White Sox a complete game, allowing only two runs on five hits, walking one, striking out five. Peavy’s 75 game score wasn’t enough for the victory. He took the loss as the Cubs shut down the south siders lineup, allowing only one run.
Mike Leake went seven innings, allowed one run on six hits and one walk. But Josh Tomlin and the Cleveland bullpen held down the Reds offense for most of the game, Aroldis Chapman blew the save, and Leake walked away without the win.
Chris Sale tossed eight shutout innings where he struck out seven Brewers, walked only one, and yielded only four hits. His game score was 80, but he didn’t receive a decision as Zack Greinke and John Axford shut out the White Sox for 10 innings for the victory.
Brett Cecil and Josh Johnson combined to go 13 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and five walks, striking out nine. Neither received the win. Johnson actually posted a 74 game score in his effort.
Kameron Loe blew the save in the top of the 7th as he allowed a three run home run to tie the game. After he finished the Jays off, the very next batter to the plate was Aramis Ramirez, who handed the Brewers a lead they would not relinquish. Loe got the win.
Victor Marte recorded the blown save/win combo for the Cardinals in Kauffman Stadium.
Wes Littleton Award
Joel Hanrahan’s 18th save of the season came as a result of protecting a three run lead against the four-five-six hitters of Detroit, Delmon Young, Alex Avila, and Jhonny Peralta. Young was first up, which is funny as he’s the least likely to reach base. Avila and Peralta aren’t bad players, but they have given back most the substantial gains in performance they experienced last season. And had any of them actually reached base, the next two spots in the lineup were .628 OPS’ing Ramon Santiago and .635 OPS’ing Brennan Boesch.
Please hold the applause
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Joe Carter Award
Ike Davis smacked two home runs and drove in eight. Seven of the eight runs were on those two home runs. They had to be. He had no other hits. The lone leftover ribbie was on a fielder’s choice. He ended the week with a bizarre .133/.235/.533 line in 17 plate appearances.
Andrelton Simmons rapped out seven hits in 23 plate appearances. That was good for a .318 average. But he did not take a walk all week and the seven hits only amounted to nine total bases for a .318/.304/.409 line.
Jerry Hairston Jr went .294/.294/.294 in 17 PA.
Marco Scutaro went .273/.304/.364 in 23 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
This isn’t exactly MVP type performance, but it is a nice illustration of secondary skills. Bryce Harper only collected four hits in 23 PA this week. He walked four times though, and chipped in three stolen bases with no caught stealing. His slugging percentage is still low, but I will take a week of .211/.348/.263 with a three for three on the base paths.
A more conventional Killebrew candidate is Giancarlo Stanton and his .250/.375/.550, but it gets harder all the time to see .250 as a threshold for the award given that the average Major League batter is hitting .253 this season, down from .255 last season, .257 in 2010, and as high as .269 in 2006.
Steve Balboni Award
A trio of sluggers struck out 11 times and suffered for it when they posted terrible lines for the week. Carlos Pena had the best week of the three, slugging two home runs and drawing two walks to make his line a merely bad .200/.286/.440 in 27 PA. Josh Hamilton did not go yard, but provided a double and a triple along with a pair of walks and went .190/.261/.333 in 23 PA. Adam Dunn did not provide the White Sox with an extra base hit all week. He did walk five times. But that couldn’t paper over much in his .091/.259/.091 line.
Curtis Granderson had a similar story, fanning 10 times, drawing three walks, and throwing up a rotten .125/.250/.125 in 27 PA.
Cody Ransom had what might have been the worst week in the game, going .105/.150/.105 with nine strikeouts in 20 PA.
Mike Napoli, B.J. Upton, Kelly Johnson, Chris Young, Brandon Moss, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Desmond Jennings, Elian Herrera, Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and Dan Uggla were among the other notables who struck out a lot and had pathetic weeks at the plate wholly or partially because of it.
Three true outcomes
Carlos Pena’s two home runs, two walks, and 11 strikeouts in 27 PA make him a prime candidate for this.
Jose Bautista is a little light on the strikeouts, but four home runs, five walks, and five K’s in 27 PA put you in the running.
Jason Kubel went three-three-six in 26 PA.
Michael Brantley threw up a zero-one-zero in 24 PA.
Brantley’s only competition this week was Ben Revere, who went zero-one-one in 25 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Mike Trout continued being preposterous Mike Trout. He sprayed out 11 hits in 29 PA. Two of those hits were doubles. One was a home run. He walked four times and struck out only three times. He stole five bases and had zero times caught stealing. His .440/.517/.640 week is a nice illustration of what a player who is good at everything looks like.
NL: How good was Aramis Ramirez’s week? Almost halfway through a season where he has played full time the whole way, he bumped his OPS by 50 points in 26 plate appearances, from .252/.324/.442 a week ago Sunday to a much more robust .274/.348/.492 as I write this on Monday afternoon. .500/.577/1.000 is pretty great.