Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for the games starting Monday, Aug. 1 and ending Sunday, Aug. 7. 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
Josh Tomlin and John Lackey combined to give up 10 runs in 12 and two-thirds on 18 hits. They each gave up a pair of home runs. They handed the responsibilities off to their bullpens and walked away with no-decisions.
Jaime Garcia and Shaun Marcum were shelled for 13 runs in 11 frames. The 10 relievers who split the remaining 11 innings combined to allowed two runs. The game went into extra innings and neither starter was held accountable for his poor work.
Courtesy of his teammates’ destruction of Gavin Floyd, A.J. Burnett was able to escape with a no decision while getting blasted for seven runs in four and a third. The Yankees bullpen also shut out the White Sox for the remainder of the contest.
Ubaldo Jimenez was punished to the tune of five runs in as many innings by the Rangers. But Derek Holland was worse, not even making it out of the second inning before getting dinged for six runs. Jimenez was in line for the win before Chris Perez allowed two runs and blew the save. This ensured that neither starter would see the loss.
Bad luck division
Jered Weaver threw nine shutout innings against the Mariners. He struck out eight and only allowed eight base runners but had to settle for a no-decision as the Angels offense waited until after he left the game to score a run.
Charlie Morton has had a tough run-in lately with regression, but he did well on Wednesday, allowing only seven base runners in as many shutout innings. But his Pirate teammates were shut out by Matt Garza, Sean Marshall, and Carlos Marmol and Morton walked away with a no-decision.
Leo Nuñez allowed a two run homer to Lucas Duda to blow his fourth save of the year. Mike Stanton turned around the next half inning and made Nunez a winner by launching a grand slam off Jason Isringhausen.
Wes Littleton Award
Fredi Gonzalez removed Jonny Venters, who had thrown all of 12 pitches to retire the Nats in the eighth for Craig Kimbrel? Why? Because clearly since Venters is the setup man and not the closer he can’t be trusted to retire the likes of Jesus Flores, who ended the game with a season line of .194/.219/.226, Jonny Gomes (.212/.338/.398) and the corpse of Rick Ankiel (.240/.302/.376) protecting only a two-run lead.
Please hold the applause
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Joe Carter Award
The BABIP that accompanied Billy Butler’s recent power spike collapsed this week and he ended up at .227/.240/.409 in 23 PA. Despite that, he still managed to find a way to drive in eight runs, the same number as Dan Uggla, who singled seven times and blasted four home runs. It was a good week to bat behind Alex Gordon.
It isn’t awful for a second baseman in today’s run scoring climate, and he’s done great work this year. But Dustin Pedroia’s .321/.323/.357 in 31 PA this week was pretty weak. Getting caught two of the three times you try stealing a base isn’t helpful either.
His double play partner’s .316/.316/.368 isn’t good either.
Ichiro Suzuki went .308/.308/.308 in 26 PA.
Ichiro’s teammate Miguel Olivo went .294/.294/.294 in 17 PA.
Kosuke Fukudome went .294/.294/.353 in 34 PA for Cleveland. Like Pedroia, he went one for three on the base paths. What happened to the plate discipline?
Danny Valencia went .286/.286/.286 in 21 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
In 16 plate appearances, Kurt Suzuki, who is not well known for his secondary offensive skills, batted .231/.375/.615. All three of his hits were of the extra base variety and he walked three times.
Steve Balboni Award
Emilio Bonifacio struck out 10 times in 29 PA. .143/.172/.179 logically followed given his historic lack of power or patience.
Adam Dunn went back to doing Adam Dunn things; eight strikeouts, 23 PA, .143/.217/.286 line.
Three true outcomes
Geovany Soto hit two home runs, walked three times, and struck out nine times in 26 PA.
Ryan Howard went 3-2-11 in 27 PA.
Carlos Santana went 2-3-11 in 30 PA.
Matt Holliday didn’t strike out as much as you would want for the category, but 4-7-6 in 32 PA is impressive in its own right.
Jose Bautista is still Jose Bautista: 2-4-7 in 26 PA.
Ichiro gave the Mariners a 0-0-1 in 26 PA.
I’m not entirely sure Ezequiel Carrera is a real person and more importantly, a real name. I have scenarios bouncing around in my head involving a random Triple-A journeyman and witness protection. I think I saw that on a USA Network program though. Whether real or not, the spreadsheet in front of me says 0-0-2 in 24 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: What got into Casey Kotchman this year? The guy is posting a 148 OPS+ right now. If you add his 2009 and 2010 OPS+ together, you only get 162. In the toughest offensive year in 20 years, the guy reemerged from uselessness to bat .336/.396/.467. This week he increased his home run total for the year by 50 percent and produced a line of .478/.556/.783 in 26 PA.
NL: Matt Holliday went .400/.545/.920 for the Cardinals. They really needed that.