Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, July 23rd through Sunday, July 29th. 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
Lance Lynn got the win despite getting torched for six runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings. That kind of thing can happen when your teammates who carry around lumber smack five home runs off of the opposing starter.
A Francisco Rodriguez blown save (I phrase it that way because he blew another one later in the week and was terrible in a non-save situation that he turned into a save situation that was eventually blown by John Axford) let Roy Halladay off the hook. Doc had been shelled by Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez for six runs in six innings on eight hits and a walk.
An Antonio Bastardo blown save took Marco Estrada off the hook for the loss after he had yielded five runs on eight hits and three walks in four innings. More than half of the Phillies he faced reached base and exactly half of the eight hits he allowed went for extra bases. But he didn’t get the loss in a game the Brewers eventually went on to lose because Antonio Bastardo couldn’t protect a lead.
Continued chaos and terribleness in the Brewers bullpen featuring the aforementioned KRod and Axford ensured that Gio Gonzalez’s five run, six inning beating resulted in no damage to his won-loss record.
Bad luck division
Mike Minor has had a disaster of a season for Atlanta. So when he held the Marlins to two runs on six hits and no walks, striking out four in seven frames, you would have been rational to expect a win. But Josh Johnson and quartet of relievers held the Braves to one run in the game and Minor took the loss.
In Zack Greinke’s first start with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Seal Beach, Rossmoor, and the Greater Conejo Valley, he pitched a pretty good game. He allowed only two runs in seven innings, striking out eight, walking only one Rays batter. But Jeremy Hellickson and three relievers shut out Greinke’s new teammates and he got the loss.
Both bad and good luck
The eighth inning was a disaster for the Brewers. Greinke had tossed seven innings, allowing only one run on three hits and no walks, striking out five Phillies. Cliff Lee had been destroyed by the Milwaukee lineup for six runs in seven frames on 12 hits and a walk. The Brewers had launched four home runs off of the formerly untouchable lefty. But Jose Veras, Manny Parra, and Kameron Loe combined to eliminate the lead. Each retired one batter. Veras was charged with one run, Parra with four, and Loe with one. The blown save was given to Loe, but it was a team effort, one which took an inevitable loss off Lee’s record and an inevitable win off Greinke’s.
Joe Smith yielded two runs in the seventh on a Miguel Cabrera home run to blow the save for Ubaldo Jimenez, who had tossed six scoreless for Cleveland. That tied the game. The Cleveland lineup untied the game in bottom of the seventh against Doug Fister to hand Smith the win.
Wes Littleton Award
If you’re a baseball romantic, eager to see greatness and drama on the field, and I tell you that somebody recorded a save against the Angels, you might have a vision popping into your head of a pitcher striking out Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Mark Trumbo with a one run lead. Fernando Rodney got his save by inducing fly balls from Alberto Callaspo and the burnt husk currently known as Vernon Wells before striking out Maicer Izturis to protect a three run lead. I believe the proper reaction isn’t a fist pump but rather a golf clap.
In protecting a two run lead, after Chris Johnson reached base on a single, Aroldis Chapman struck out three Astros to close the door. Those three Astros were Justin Maxwell, Ben Francisco, and Matt Downs. If any of them had defied the odds and reached base, next up were Chris Snyder and the pitcher’s spot.
Please hold the applause
Brett Myers was brought into Monday’s game with two out and a runner on second in the eighth inning. He was protecting a three run lead and the ninth spot in the lineup was at bat. Jamey Carroll, who finished the game with a .613 OPS lined out to end the “threat” and Myers got his first hold as a member of the White Sox.
David Robertson’s 12th hold of the season came in Seattle protecting a three run lead in the eighth inning. He faced three batters, Carlos Peguero Brendan Ryan, and Dustin Ackley. If you simply add up the OBP’s they ended the game with and divide by three, you get .274.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Clay Buchholz allowed only one run on four hits in seven innings, walking three. He also was charged with a wild pitch and hit a batter. If he had had somewhat normal results on balls in play against the Rangers, he would have allowed far more runs. But he didn’t have normal results on balls in play. He had very, very kind results on balls in play as he had only struck out one of the 27 batters he faced.
Joe Carter Award
Josh Hamilton drove in five runs this week. Amazingly he did this despite only collecting two total bases in 19 plate appearances where he hit .063/.190/.125.
Also driving in five runs was David Wright, who went .111/.200/.370 in 30 PA.
Melky Cabrera is second in baseball in batting average for the season at .353. He hasn’t been BAD at the secondary skills thing, but he has only walked in 6.8 percent of his plate appearances and his isolated slugging is an unremarkable .168. So with these things in mind, it should not surprise you that a good, not great batting average week produced a classic Sanchez line of .304/.292/.304 in 24 PA.
Daniel Murphy went .286/.310/.393 in 29 PA.
There has got to be an award in here somewhere
Ike Davis sure did have a weird week. It was a week that encapsulates a lot of the things we talk about here in the awards. Davis launched six home runs and that led to a .897 slugging percentage. On the other hand, he only smacked two other hits, both of which were singles. And he did not draw a walk or lean into a pitch all week, leaving his OBP at a meager .276. Adding to the weirdness, all six home runs were solo shots. So we have a guy here with a .276/.276/.897 line. It would have been nice if he had found a way to get on base. But it also would have been nice to see somebody else get on base so that he would have somebody to drive in. But despite the bad OBP, how much can you really slam a guy who blasted six bombs in a week? I give up trying to analyze this thing. It’s messy.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Chris Carter only smacked five hits in 26 PA. But three of those hits were home runs and he walked four times for a tasty .227/.346/.636 line.
Jay Bruce had the anti-Ike Davis week, going .211/.400/.368, basically doing nothing but drawing walks.
Steve Balboni Award
Danny Espinosa fanned 13 times in 31 PA, hacking his way to a .226/.226/.387 week.
Jeff Francoeur is back to doing Jeff Francoeur things after a good 2011. 11 strikeouts and no walks in 22 PA lead to a .091/.091/.227 line.
Going from a current Royal to a former Royal, Carlos Beltran fanned 10 times in 22 PA and went .136/.136/.455.
Matt Joyce struck out 10 times in 24 PA and produced a .190/.292/.238 week.
Matt Wieters went .053/.100/.211 with nine K’s in 20 PA.
Three true outcomes
I mentioned Chris Carter above. The big man hit three home runs, walked four times, and struck out nine times in 26 PA.
Drew Stubbs smacked three homers, walked three times, and struck out nine times in 30 PA.
Josh Willingham went four-three-six in 27 PA.
Usual suspect Adam Dunn went three-two-six in 26 PA.
Chase Utley posted a two-six-seven in 26 PA.
Ichiro did not homer, walk, or strike out in any of his 28 PA.
Carlos Lee went zero-two-one in 26 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: The best batter in the American League this week happened to play for a team that won one game all week in nothing but road games in Anaheim and Seattle. They were swept in a four game series against the Mariners wherein they scored under three runs per game. But Billy Butler was not a reason why the Royals struggled. He smacked 11 hits, four of them for extra bases. He walked five times and posted a .458/.552/.708 line in 29 PA.
NL: Chris Johnson was the Billy Butler of the National League, going .458/.519/.875 with 11 hits, five for extra bases and three walks. The Astros went one and six against the Reds and Pirates. But here we are with Chris Johnson as an unexpected league leader in OPS for the week.