Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for the games starting Monday, June 20 and ending Sunday, June 26. If you are a new reader, reference the week one column for category explanations.
This week we cover the season leaders in the pitching categories.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an archaic practice that must stop
Good luck division
Bronson Arroyo was a winner having yielded five runs in six and a third. He gave up four homers to the Orioles. However, because Brian Matusz version 2011 is still in beta testing, that performance was good enough.
Juan Nicasio was pounded for six runs in four and two thirds on seven hits and two walks. Luckily for him, the Denver offense made Fausto Carmona look ridiculous and Nicasio merely had the indignity of an ugly no-decision rather than the shame of a loss.
Phil Coke and Zach Duke each got shelled, combining to allow 12 runs in eight and two thirds on 14 hits, striking out four, walking five. The credit and blame for the win and loss went to the bullpens.
J.A. Happ was actually in line for the win before Wilton Lopez blew the save despite Happ having been charged with five runs in as many innings. This is because Jeff Niemann and Cesar Ramos combined to allow seven runs in only four runs for the Rays.
Bad luck division
Anibal Sanchez gave the Fish seven stellar innings, allowing just one run on eight hits and no walks, striking out eight in seven frames. He was denied the win as Jered Weaver and a pair of relievers shut down the Marlins offense.
In a pitcher’s duel that went 13 innings, Gio Gonzalez and R.A. Dickey combined to provide their teams with 15 innings of work, allowing two runs on seven hits, walking two, striking out 17. No-decisions for them.
Finally, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez (again) each took a no-decision as they combined to allow two runs on 14 hits in 14 innings, striking out nine, walking one.
Matt Belisle got his fourth blown save of the season by allowing an inherited run to score. The blown save led to a win as Seth Smith homered to give the Rockies the lead as the first batter up after Belisle’s turn on the bump.
Wes Littleton Award
Carlos Marmol entered the game on Monday up three runs with Alexi Ramirez, A.J. Pierzynski, and Alex Rios coming up. Ramirez has been good this season. Pierzynski has been okay but not especially threatening. Rios and each of the three batters after him (Mark Teahen, Juan Pierre, Omar Vizquel) have been various degrees of awful. He got the save.
Please hold the applause
Trever Miller got the loss and the hold in the same game. Miller bequeathed two base runners to Jason Motte. He had not blown the lead, but the second of the two runners Motte allowed to score was the deciding run in the contest. So Motte got the blown save and Miller got the loss despite getting the hold, as the only requirement for the hold is that a reliever both enter and leave with the save opportunity intact.
Aaron Heilman got his fifth hold and his first loss of the season in the same contest partially thanks to David Hernandez. Heilman started the eighth inning up two to one. He proceeded to allow a pinch hit single, followed it up by striking out Austin Jackson, and walking Casey Wells. Once Hernandez entered, things spiraled out of control quickly and by the time the inning was over, seven Detroit runs had been scored and the game was out of reach for Phoenix.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Joe Carter Award
Dan Uggla has hit for power this year but nothing else. With six RBIs and a .182/.250/.455 line, this week was more of the same.
Brent Morel went .294/.278/.294 in 18 plate appearances.
Aubrey Huff wasn’t much better, posting a .286/.273/.381 line in 22 PA.
And Ryan Braun uncharacteristically gave the Brewers a .278/.300/.333 week.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Joey Votto did what Joey Votto does, walking more than he struck out, smashing a pair of home runs, and generally doing well. He would have had a monster week had he received better luck on balls in play. He only struck out four times in 28 PA but still ended up at .217/.379/.522.
Carlos Santana struck out eight times in his 18 at-bats, so it is easier to see how he would end up on the list. .222/.417/.444 is productive.
Steve Balboni Award
Adam Dunn has been showing up here a lot this year both because he strikes out a lot and because he has been terrible this year. And that’s the kind of hard-hitting, cutting-edge analysis you get here in the Awards. Tell your friends. Nobody else will tell you that Adam Dunn has been bad this year. 14 strikeouts, 23 PA, .091/.130/.136.
Wily Mo Peña fanned 11 times in 23 PA, did not walk, and hit two home runs and two singles. .174/.174/.435.
Corey Patterson is still Corey Patterson, what with eight strikeouts in 17 PA and a .133/.235/.200 line.
Three true outcomes
Corey Hart hit one home run, walked seven times, and struck out eight times in 25 PA.
B.J. Upton went 3-3-8 in 28 PA.
Prince Fielder went 1-6-6 in 25 PA.
And let’s note Jonny Gomes and his 2-5-3 in 19 PA.
Juan Pierre went 0-1-0 in 24 PA.
And Ben Revere, often described as a Juan Pierre-like player, went 0-0-2 in 26 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Michael Young had one of his best weeks ever, collecting six extra-base hits while only striking out once in 27 PA. .481/.481/1.037 is magnificent.
NL: Brandon Phillips had a nice week of his own, going .444/.483/.667 in 29 PA.