Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, June 25th through Sunday, July first. 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
Henderson Alvarez gave up five runs in five innings on six hits and a walk, striking out two. He got the win as Felix Doubront was pounded for seven runs in six innings. Alvarez’s last out came just before Doubront allowed a two run J.P. Arencibia bomb. The thing that gave Alvarez the win happened after Alvarez had thrown his final pitch and made it a 7-5 game in the sixth inning.
Four of the six runs Dan Haren allowed to the Blue Jays on Thursday were via home runs by Jeff Mathis and Jose Bautista. Haren struck out three of the 26 Blue Jays he faced and walked one. Haren also got the win as Brett Cecil’s start was an absolute disaster with eight runs yielded in five and a third.
If you see a box score and the game went into extra innings with both teams in double digits in runs scored, there is an excellent chance you will see it mentioned here. That was the case in Denver when neither Edwin Jackson nor Josh Outman made it out of the fourth inning but neither took the loss as the Rockies bullpen blew the lead, taking Jackson off the hook. Jackson had allowed eight runs in three frames. Outman allowed five.
Bad luck division
Erasmo Ramirez tossed eight innings, only giving up one run on three hits and a walk, striking out 10. He threw up an 81 game score but took the loss as Tommy Milone and a pair of Oakland relievers shut out the Mariners.
Wes Littleton Award
When I tell you that Joe Nathan’s 17th save of the season was one where he protected a two run lead at home against the Tigers, you inevitably come up with a vision of Nathan striking out Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in succession. But that isn’t what happened at all. He struck out Brennan Boesch (currently batting .232/.269/.349) and Alex Avila (.247/.335/.402) for the first and third outs and in between induced a fly out from Jhonny Peralta (.260/.333/.390). It just doesn’t carry the same punch. Getting Fielder and Cabrera as well as Austin Jackson and Quintin Berry was the responsibility of Mike Adams, the setup man. The hold was much more challenging than the save.
After the Cardinals took a two run lead in the top of the 10th in Miami, Jason Motte took over the mound for St. Louis. He started off by striking out Greg Dobbs. Then he allowed an Omar Infante double, struck out Scott Cousins, then allowed a John Buck single that brought home Infante. He walked Justin Ruggiano before mercifully inducing a groundout from Jose Reyes to end the game. He struck out two, walked one, and allowed two hits in an inning of work. He got there, but the back half of the Marlins lineup made him sweat for it.
Addison Reed did all he could do to blow the save against the Twins. Actually, that isn’t fair. He was doing all he could to record the save. He just wasn’t very good at baseball Tuesday and struggled accordingly. However, when you are protecting a three run lead, you can allow two runs on two hits and a walk and still be deemed a success.
Please hold the applause
Grant Balfour got the loss and a hold in the same game with the help of Ryan Cook, who allowed three of Balfour’s four runners to score after inheriting them. When Balfour entered the game, Oakland was up by two runs with no runners on base. When he left, the bases were loaded with a one run cushion. A Craig Gentry triple allowed all three to score and Balfour took the loss but as he had left with the lead intact, he still got the hold.
Javier Lopez was given the task of guarding a three run lead and only faced two batters with no runners inherited. That is already a good way to be ensured of getting a hold. Then add in that the two batters he retired before being lifted for Sergio Romo were Ivan De Jesus and Dee Gordon and you have the full picture of how little danger the Giants were in with Lopez on the bump.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Jordan Zimmerman struck out only one Rockies batter of the 29 he faced. He still was only touched up for one run on eight hits in seven frames. He actually walked three and got away with it AND the abysmal strikeout rate and got the win in Coors Field.
Joe Carter Award
Fielder plated eight runs in 30 PA. But because of bad luck on balls in play, he ended up with a very modest .222/.313/.407 line on the week.
Colby Rasmus came about similar results to Fielder but came about it honestly, via excessive strikeouts. Rasmus drove in eight runs and ended the week with a .233/.303/.467 line in 32 plate appearances. He struck out eight times while Fielder fanned twice.
Fielder’s teammate Peralta drove in six in 26 PA. He hit a mere .280/.308/.360.
Josh Willingham also produced six ribbies. He struggled his way to a .167/.310/.417.
Ryan Kalish smacked six hits in 19 PA. That is essentially all he did though as four of the six were singles and he drew no walks for a .316/.316/.421 line.
Erick Aybar went .300/.318/.350 in 21 PA.
Elliot Johnson is more of the same, with a .300/.300/.350 line in 20 PA. It does bear mentioning that he was two for two stealing bases.
Chris Nelson went .292/.292/.375 for the Rockies.
Delmon Young did Delmon Young things and ended the week at .290/.281/.387 in 32 PA. Yes, he is still batting fifth for a team that has playoff aspirations.
David Freese: .286/.286/.333 in 21 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
It was a thin week for Killebrew candidates and the closest I have is the unenviable duo of Cody Ransom and Leonys Martin. Each absorbed 15 PA. Ransom went .231/.333/.692 with a pair of home runs. Martin went .231/.333/.462 with a double, a triple, and a steal.
Steve Balboni Award
You can take the Brandon Inge out of Detroit, but you can’t take the Brandon Inge out of Brandon Inge. This week he struck out 11 times in 29 PA and ended up at .143/.172/.179.
B.J. Upton whiffed 10 times in 28 PA and subsequently went .077/.138/.077.
Dan Uggla struck out an astonishing 10 times in 19 PA and thus his .059/.238/.118 is not a surprise.
Scott Rolen had only 15 PA and somehow managed to strike out eight times in that sample and went .000/.000/.000.
Three true outcomes
Adam Dunn hit one home run, walked six times, and struck out 11 times in 31 PA.
Adam LaRoche went two-three-10 in 27 PA.
Josh Hamilton posted a three-four-eight in 30 PA.
David Ortiz was a bit lighter on the strikeouts than I usually go for in the category, but let’s give three-five-five in 30 PA some credit.
Curtis Granderson gave the Yankees a two-six-seven week in 30 PA.
Shin-Soo Choo threw up a two-six-six in 30 PA.
Brett Lawrie had a rare form of the anti-TTO week with a one-zero-zero in 32 PA.
Placido Polanco went zero-two-zero in 24 PA.
Finally, Logan Forsythe achieved a zero-one-two in 32 PA for the Padres.
This week’s MVP
AL: Choo had a nice week, but given the category we are dealing with, that is an unnecessary bit of verbiage. But it would feel strange to just say that he hit .458/.581/.750 in 30 PA. So I gave it an unnecessary intro. Sue me.
NL: Ian Desmond filled up the stat sheet this week. Of his 12 hits, seven were doubles, one was a triple, two were home runs, and two were singles. He also chipped in two walks for a .414/.452/.931 line in 31 PA.
It also bears mentioning that Michael McKenry had a surprising .455/.480/.955 week for the Pirates.