Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, August 13th through Sunday, August 19th. 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 archaic practice that must stop
Good luck division
Mark Rogers escaped with a no-decision after yielding five runs on seven hits and a pair of walks. He was actually positioned for the win until Jim Henderson blew the save and took the loss. Yes, more Brewers bullpen hilarity.
Wade LeBlanc struggled to the tune of five runs allowed in five innings, nine hits and two walks, only two strikeouts. However because Jeff Francis and Josh Roenicke were torched for six runs in Coors Field, LeBlanc got the win.
Eric Stults yielded five runs in five innings of work in San Diego. The Giants recorded nine hits, including a Joaquin Arias home run. Stults struck out only one of the 18 batters he faced. But because Barry Zito and Eric Hacker allowed five runs of their own, Stults avoided the loss.
Wei-Yin Chen recorded his 12th victory of the season despite getting pounded for five runs in five innings on seven hits and two walks. Of note is the fact that he allowed a three run bomb to Jhonny Peralta. But Doug Fister was taken to the woodshed by the Baltimore offense and Chen’s bullpen held the Tigers scoreless for the remaining three frames.
Bad luck division
Josh Johnson pitched eight frames, allowing only one run on three hits and a walk, striking out seven. The only run against him came on a solo shot off the bat of Jimmy Rollins. But the Marlins were shut out by Kyle Kendrick and the Phillies and Johnson took the loss.
Jake Peavy and Carlos Villanueva combined to throw 15 innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits and three walks, striking out 14. Villanueva was in line for the win before a Casey Janssen blown save ruled that out.
Mike Minor took the loss in spite of his seven strong innings. Minor allowed only five hits and no walks. His only run allowed came on a Luis Cruz solo home run. Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers shut out Atlanta and Minor was on the losing end.
Tanner Scheppers entered the game in Yankee stadium with the score tied at four, two outs in the sixth. He allowed a single to allow the runner inherited from Derek Holland to score, putting the Rangers down a run. He then allowed a stolen base before mercifully ending the frame by striking out Jayson Nix. To lead off the next inning, he allowed an Ichiro Suzuki single, prompting Ron Washington to pull him in favor of Mike Kirkman. However, because the Rangers lineup logged three runs off Cody Eppley, Boone Logan, and Joba Chamberlain, Scheppers was credited with the win.
Wes Littleton Award
I won’t bash Derek Lowe too much in this space despite the aesthetics of a four inning save in a game that ended with a six run win. The reason is because Lowe did throw four effective innings of relief in a game against a team that while it has had some significant struggles offensively in the most recent few months, still carries a significant potential for scoring some runs. He took over with a three run lead, allowed no runs, and struck out four. He also had a higher WPA than Yankee starter David Phelps, 0.10 versus 0.05.
Steve Cishek tested the bounds of much you can fail at being a pitcher and still get a save. He started with a Josh Rutledge line out, followed that up with a Dexter Fowler single, a Jonathan Herrera groundout advancing Fowler to second, a Wilin Rosario single. Rosario ended up at second base due to defensive indifference. Tyler Colvin then drove in Fowler and Rosario on a single before Jordan Pacheco ended the game with grounder to first. One inning, three hits, two runs, no walks, no strikeouts, no saves. He did your fantasy team’s ratio and ERA no favors.
When Evan Scribner and Jerry Blevins each allowed a two run home run to take a seven run lead and turn it into a three run advantage, Grant Balfour was called on to record one out with one man on base. He struck out Ezequiel Carerra to end the game and record his 11th save of the season.
Please hold the applause
Tim Collins struck out DeWayne Wise, then followed that up by allowing a Kevin Youkilis single and a two run Adam Dunn bomb before being yanked for Aaron Crow. He turned a 5-2 Royals advantage into a narrow 5-4 advantage and he got a hold.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
On the losing end of Felix Hernandez’s perfect game was Jeremy Hellickson, who struck out only one of the 27 Mariners he faced and still managed to allow only one run in seven frames. Every perfect game and every no-hitter requires a certain amount of luck on balls in play, but with the 12 strikeouts and all of the swinging strikes, this was one of the least in need of luck and very likely one of the few where the opposing starter likely needed more luck to get the result he did.
Clayton Richard recorded his 10th win of the season at home against the Giants on Sunday. He allowed only one run on five hits despite striking out only one of the 31 batters he faced. Sometimes it pays to be a fly ball pitcher in Petco Park.
Joe Carter Award
Matt Kemp went .185/.267/.259 and somehow found a way to drive in five runs.
In 16 plate appearances, Brendan Ryan hit a very symmetrical .313/.313/.313. That is five hits in 16 chances with no walks and no extra base hits.
Cameron Maybin had an empty batting average week with a .304/.320/.304 line.
Juan Pierre is still out there doing Juan Pierre things in case you were curious. .300/.300/.400 with a triple and a one for two success rate stealing bases.
Mike Baxter went .294/.294/.412 in 17 PA.
Geovany Soto posted an anemic .286/.318/.286 for the Rangers in 22 PA.
Desmond Jennings has been a bit of a disappointment this year. He didn’t do much this week to change that, going .276/.323/.310.
And finally, Anthony Rizzo went .276/.276/.276 in 29 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Google Maps lists Camden Yards and Nationals Park as being a 52-minute drive from each other. So I find it all the more cool that Michael Morse and Matt Wieters hit .235/.350/.471 in 20 PA this week. They weren’t identical weeks as Morse struck out five times compared to Wieters three. And Wieters walked three times while Morse drew two bases on balls and chipped in a hit by pitch. But they were very close.
Chase Utley collected only five hits in 27 PA. But two of the hits were doubles and he chipped in with six walks for a .238/.407/.333 line.
Andrew McCutchen went .222/.400/.333 in 35 PA.
Steve Balboni Award
Cody Ransom struck out nine times in 17 PA and predictably went .059/.059/.059. He has now struck out 97 times in 76 games played this year, a figure that represents 41.5 percent of his plate appearances. He is batting a less-than-useful .204/.297/.379, 79 OPS+, .296 WOBA.
Because he struck out 12 times in 28 PA, Brett Jackson was able to launch two doubles, a triple, and a home run and still manage to be a relative drain on the Cubs by hitting .222/.250/.481.
Cody Ross went down on strikes 11 times in 21 PA, leading to a .238/.238/333 line.
Some other notable batters whose ridiculous strikeout rates torpedoed what might have been a productive week or simply was the herald of a horror show as follows: Geovany Soto, Evan Longoria, Kelly Johnson, Andres Torres, and Stephen Drew.
Three true outcomes
After a couple weeks off the list, the Big Donkey returns to reclaim his throne by smashing four home runs, walking four times, and striking out eight times in 30 PA.
Another familiar face, Carlos Pena chips in with a one-three-10 in 22 PA.
Longoria went two-two-nine in 24 PA.
Mark Reynolds posted a three-two-eight in 22 PA.
Alfonso Soriano went two-four-five in 23 PA.
Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera combined to go four-nine-nine in 50 PA.
And finally, Pedro Alvarez rocked the TTO style to a two-four-13 in 32 PA, leading baseball in strikeouts.
Alcides Escobar hit no home runs, walked once, and struck out once in 26 PA.
Yonder Alonso went zero-one-two in 26 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Mike Trout keeps on rolling with a .370/.452/.815 week with a double, a triple, three home runs, four walks, and a three for three week on the bases in 31 PA.
NL: Jay Bruce smashed seven extra base hits this week, including three home runs for a .429/.448/.929 line. His teammate Ryan Ludwick went .348/.444/.913 with four home runs and Todd Frazier went .370/.379/.741 with three bombs of his own. Bruce gets the hardware, but all in all it was a good week to be a fan of Cincinnati Reds home run trots.