Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, Aug. 12 through Sunday, Aug. 18. Please see 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
CC Sabathia got the win despite allowing six runs to the Red Sox in five and a third Sunday night. The attention in the game rightly went to opposing starter Ryan Dempster, who ham-handedly plunked Alex Rodriguez before getting tagged for seven runs in his five and a third.
Erasmo Ramirez allowed four runs in five and a third on seven hits and a walk. Notable was a pair of two-run home runs by Ben Zobrist. He took the win as Chris Archer was battered by the Mariners offense for five runs in five innings.
Eric Stults was shelled for five runs in four and two thirds at Coors. The Rockies rapped out 11 hits off the Padres starter. Stults failed to strike out a single batter and he walked three. But because the Padres lineup smashed Jeff Manship for six runs, Stults walked away unscathed.
Wade Davis took 93 pitches to get through three and two thirds, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks to the Tigers. Drew Smyly and Jose Veras each blew a hold and Davis escaped without taking the loss in a game the Royals lost.
Bad luck division
Gio Gonzalez was the victim of poor run support as Atlanta held the Nats to one run in the game. Gonzalez was given the loss and charged with two runs on five hits and four walks, striking out nine in his seven innings.
Archer allowed one run in seven innings on four hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. He took a no-decision because the Rays waited until the 10th inning to score their second run.
Travis Wood also held his opponent (the Reds) to two runs in eight frames. He too took the loss because his teammates couldn’t supply him with sufficient run support. The Cubs were shut out by Mat Latos and Aroldis Chapman.
Later in the week, Latos had the experience reversed on him as he was the one who held a team (the Brewers in this instance) to two runs in seven innings but he still took the loss thanks to Yovani Gallardo, Brandon Kintzler and Jim Henderson.
Ryan Cook inherited two base runners from Straily. One of the two scored on an Alberto Callaspo error to tie the game. Callaspo then smacked a two-run double in the next half inning to make Cook the winning pitcher in a game where he was also given a blown save.
Yoervis Medina did the blown save/win combo as well with help from Elvis Andrus, who not only drove in the run that tied the game but got caught stealing third to ensure that more runs wouldn’t score and put the game out of reach for the Mariners.
Wes Littleton Award
When you hear about somebody getting the save by pitching a scoreless ninth against the Royals, you might think of striking out Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer to protect a one-run lead, which would be impressive and worthy of grand musical accompaniment, preferably something in the hard rock genre which seems to be a tradition among closers. Joaquin Benoit retired Sal Perez, Emilio Bonifacio and Alcides Escobar to guard a three-run cushion, which barely merits a handshake with the catcher.
Please hold the applause
John Axford entered Wednesday’s game with a two-run lead in the seventh, taking over for Mike Gonzalez, who had put runners on first and second without retiring anybody. Axford proceeded to walk the first batter he faced, struck out the second, and then allowed an Elvis Andrus RBI single before getting pulled for Burke Badenhop. Badenhop allowed a single to the first batter he faced, which plated two runners he inherited from Axford. Axford got the hold because the Brewers were still up by a run when he left the contest. He got the loss because the run that put the Brewers down to stay was charged to him. Badenhop got the blown save.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Joe Carter Award
Pedro Alvarez and Wil Myers drove in six runs each. Alvarez ended the week hitting .172/.250/.379 in 32 PA. Myers went .208/.269/.417 in 25 PA. Chris Davis plated the same number of runs in 27 PA and HE hit .409/.500/.909 with the same number of extra base hits (five) as either Alvarez or Myers had hits. He also walked five times.
Adrian Gonzalez found his way on base via hit seven times. Only one of those seven hits went for extra bases and he didn’t walk in any of his 22 PA, leading to an empty .318/.318/.364 line.
Jean Segura went .304/.304/.391 in 23 PA.
We expect more of Dustin Pedroia than .300/.300/.333 in 30 PA..
Harmon Killebrew Award
With power and a load of patience, Joey Votto is exactly the kind of player who can post a good line even in a week in which strikes out more than he should and gets some bad luck on balls in play. .208/.387/.417 in 31 PA is impressive.
Darin Ruf collected only four hits in his 21 PA but half of those four hits were home runs and he walked twice, giving him a .211/.348/.526 line.
Roger Kieschnick reached base three times by hits and six times by base on balls. .200/.429/.333 in 21 PA isn’t something you see just every day but it works.
Ike Davis went .200/.333/.400, which isn’t going to win any awards but it is better than the Mets have gotten from Davis for most of the season.
Finally, Carlos Santana went .182/.333/.364 in 25 PA.
Steve Balboni Award
Juan Francisco struck out in more than half of his 25 PA, going down on strikes 13 times. His three home runs were essentially the only thing he had going for him this week with a .130/.200/.522 line.
Brandon Barnes also whiffed 13 times. He did it in 28 PA and ended the week at 148/.179/.222.
Alvarez didn’t just quality for the Carter. He makes it onto this list as well with his .172/.250/.379 line being highlighted by 12 strikeouts.
Chase Headley had a terrible week, striking out 11 times in 24 PA and batting .125/.125/.208.
Michael Bourn posted a .130/.167/.261 line with 10 strikeouts in 24 PA.
Alex Gordon went .129/.129/.161 with 10 strikeouts in 31 PA, a much higher rate than is normal for him. He has struck out in just over 20 percent of his PA this season, right on par with his career average of 21 percent.
This week’s extended list of batters who struck out a lot and couldn’t make up for it by doing enough positive things like hit for power or draw walks includes Omar Quintanilla, Wellington Castillo, Nick Franklin, Brett Wallace, Russell Martin, Jacoby Ellsbury and Wil Myers.
Three true outcomes
Chris Nelson popped two home runs, walked four times, and struck out 11 times in 35 PA.
Oh hey, look. It’s Adam Dunn with a one-four-10 in 30 PA.
Justin Upton went one-five-10 in 24 PA.
Paul Goldschmidt went three-six-nine in 33 PA.
Votto threw up a one-seven-eight in his 31 PA.
Alvarez and Francisco went two-three-12 and three-two-13.
Alfonso Soriano posted a remarkable five-three-eight in 37 PA.
Chris Davis’ three-five-eight seems rather par for the course given the season he’s having..
Brett Lawrie did not homer or walk and he struck out only once in 28 PA
This week’s MVP
AL: Alfonso Soriano owned this week with 15 hits, five of which went for home runs. He walked three times, and ended the week at .441/.500/.912 in his 37 PA.
NL: Matt Carpenter posted a .400/.467/.640 line in 29 PA. He didn’t hit a home run, but he made his way on base 14 times and walked twice as often as he struck out.
Just behind Carpenter was the Padres duo of Jedd Gyorko and Will Venable. Gyorko posted a .345/.345/.759 line with three doubles and three home runs. Venable went .406/.406/.719 with 13 hits, five of which went for extra bases.