Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for the games starting Monday, June 27 and ending Sunday, July 23. If you are a new reader, reference the week one column for category explanations.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an archaic practice that must stop
Good luck division
Ryan Vogelsong was peppered by the Cubs for six runs on six hits and four walks in five innings, fanning six. Half of his runs against were on home runs by Carlos Peña and Koyie Hill. But because Doug Davis was getting shelled for 10 runs in what may end up being the final big league start of his career, Vogelsong was a winner.
Chris Narveson was saved by Matt Capps’ ugly blown save and a bullpen that threw four and a third scoreless after Narveson had a disaster seven-run, four-and-two-thirds start. Marco Estrada even bailed Narveson out of the first and third, two-out jam that the starter left behind.
Zack Greinke and Nick Blackburn combined to allow 11 runs in 10 frames on 11 hits. And neither starter can cite this as an unworkable situation where all pitchers struggled as five Twins relievers combined for five innings of one-run ball.
Bad luck division
Javier Vazquez has had a terrible year, the kind where his record could use some help from his lineup. When he shut down the A’s for seven innings, allowing only one run (an unearned one made possible by a throwing error by Hanley Ramirez) and only three base runners, his offense failed to support him at all. The Fish were shut out by Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey and Vazquez fell to 4-8 on the year.
Tim Lincecum and Ryan Dempster combined for 15 innings where they allowed two runs on eight hits and two walks, striking out 15. Neither received the win as Carlos Marmol blew the save for Dempster before getting the win himself.
Jordan Zimmerman allowed one run on four hits and a walk in eight innings and posted a game score of 75 yet still lost as Dan Haren, Scott Downs, and Jordan Walden shut out the boys from Capital City.
In a game that was won by the Cubs in extra innings, Matt Cain gave the Giants seven scoreless, striking out six and allowing only four base runners. On the other side, Marcus Mateo took over for Carlos Zambrano in the second inning and threw five scoreless in relief. Because of Brian Wilson’s blown save, neither got the win.
Matt Garza gave the Cubs a really nice start, giving up only one run to the White Sox in a complete game where he struck out seven. Garza and the Cubs lost as Phil Humber and Matt Thornton shut out the North Siders in Wrigley.
David Price had given St Petersburg a nice performance with two runs allowed in seven and two thirds. He had struck out 12, walking one and was in position for the win over Cincinnati when Kyle Farnsworth blew the save on a Jay Bruce solo shot. Evan Longoria, the leadoff batter in the next half inning delivered a walk off home run, which made Farnsworth the winner.
Hisanori Takahashi blew the save for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Cerritos, Hermosa Beach, and Big Pines. This happened right before the Halo lineup started walloping the Nats bullpen, handing Takahashi an undeserved win.
As Luke Hochevar had already yielded five runs, Blake Wood wasn’t vulturing or “stealing” the win from anybody in particular, but can anybody really defend a rule that gives Wood a win in a game where he allowed three runs in an inning and a third?
Wes Littleton Award
Guillermo Mota recorded a True Littleton, pitching three mop-up innings in a game where he inherited a 15-0 lead. He didn’t even pitch particularly well, giving up three runs, two of which were on solo home runs.
Please hold the applause
Chris Resop recorded his 10th save of the season on Tuesday. Jose Veras recorded his 16th. Resop came into the game, gave up a double, struck out one, walked two (one of which was intentional). Veras came in to relieve Resop with the bases loaded and got the Pirates out of the jam. He then tacked on another inning where he set down the Jays in order. Resop was staggeringly ineffective; Veras was brilliant. And they each got credit for a hold.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Gavin Floyd faced 29 Rockies in Denver, failed to strike any of them out, and still only gave up two runs on six hits in seven frames. Coors Field isn’t the launching pad it used to be, but that is a lot of balls in play with very little in the way of damage.
Joe Carter Award
In most weeks there is a batter who drives in a bunch of runs while neither hitting for power or getting on base. Colby Rasmus is not one of those players. He still is a reasonable example of the Carter Award though as his three home runs were about the only thing he provided the Cardinals. The center fielder batted .136/.240/.545.
Rookie Jemile Weeks smacked eight hits in 25 PA. However, only two of those hits went for extra bases, both doubles. And Rickie’s kid brother did not walk, leading to a .320/.308/.400 line.
James Loney is a first baseman. James Loney hit .292/.292/.417 this week in 24 PA.
Jordan Schafer went .273/.304/.273 in 23 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Curtis Granderson only singled once in 21 PA. Fortunately for Yankee fans, he did everything else a batter could do, collecting a triple, a home run, seven walks, and three steals with no CS. .214/.455/.571 is a very nice week.
Carlos Pena got here the old fashioned way, the three true outcomes. But I’ll have more on that in a minute. For now lets just be amused with his .207/.324/.522 line.
Steve Balboni Award
There is thunder in Mike Stanton’s bat. Unfortunately at this point in his career there is a whole lot of swing and miss in his bat as well. He fanned 12 times in 24 PA this week, leading to a .217/.250/.217 line.
Three true outcomes
Carlos Pena was brought up earlier. The big first baseman gave the Cubs three home runs, five walks, and seven strikeouts in 34 PA.
Jim Thome only had 17 PA this week yet he somehow managed to collect two home runs, three walks, and 10 strikeouts.
Jose Bautista went 3-5-5 in 29 PA.
And Granderson went 1-7-5 in 21 PA.
Nick Markakis went 1-0-1 in 27 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: At this point it feels a bit boring to write Jose Bautista’s name here. He does obscene things to pitchers. It’s kind of his thing. This week he smoked three doubles, four home runs, and walked five times on his way to a .391/.500/1.043 week in 28 PA.
NL: You have probably noticed that Lance Berkman is having a bit of a good year. This week most of the damage he did was in the four home runs he hit and the seven walks he drew. .294/.480/.1.059 in 24 PA.