Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, August 20th through Sunday, August 26th. 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
Jake Westbrook was tagged for five runs in five innings, striking out one Astros batter. But he was credited with the win as the Cardinals lineup scored 13 runs in the game off of Dallas Keuchel and four Houston relievers.
C.J. Wilson and Franklin Morales combined to yield 13 runs in seven and two thirds. Neither took the loss in a game that went extra innings and featured multiple blown leads on each side, ending with an Ernesto Frieri blown save/win.
Bad luck division
Justin Verlander allowed only two runs in nine innings of work, striking out 12, walking two. The Tigers waited until the 11th inning to score their third run of the game and Verlander got a no-decision despite his 81 game score in a contest his team won.
R.A. Dickey gave the Mets seven innings with only one run allowed on three hits and two walks, striking out six. But his teammates only tallied one run against the Rockies and Dickey was denied the win.
Lucas Harrell and Jeremy Hefner allowed one run each. Harrell tossed seven frames, allowing two hits, one of which was an Ike Davis solo shot, walking two, striking out seven. Hefner made his way through eight innings, allowing five hits, walking one, striking out seven. Neither starter received the win.
Clayton Kershaw allowed only two runs in eight innings with 10 strikeouts against no walks and took the loss as Madison Bumgarner and two Giants relievers held the Dodgers to one run in the game. Kershaw’s game score was an impressive 72.
Addison Reed blew the lead in Friday’s game, taking Jason Vargas off the hook despite Vargas’ having allowed the White Sox to tally six runs in his four innings. Chicago then scored two off Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen to give Reed an underserved win.
Wes Littleton Award
John Axford was brought in with one on and two out in the ninth to protect a three run lead. Manny Parra and Jim Henderson had struggled, giving up two runs and making it a save situation. It being a save situation and given that Axford had been recently reinstated as the closer, Axford was called upon instead of trusting that Henderson wouldn’t put another man on base and then allow a home run. So Axford faced one batter, Wellington Castillo, retired that batter, and was given a save.
Please hold the applause
Jordan Walden entered Tuesday’s game against the Red Sox protecting a three run lead with one out and the bases empty in the seventh. He allowed a double to Scott Podsednik followed by a groundout to advance Pods to third. He scored when Walden threw a wild pitch to the next batter, Dustin Pedroia, who then singled, prompting Mike Scioscia to pull Walden from the game. Walden got the hold despite being comically ineffective.
Axford might just be the first to ever make the Littleton and hold categories in the same week. On Friday, he entered the game responsible for a three run lead over Pittsburgh with none on, no outs in the bottom of the ninth. He left with two runners on, two outs, and a one run lead. He got a hold for his efforts. Had Kameron Loe immediately allowed a three run home run, Axford would have received the hold and loss.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Kevin Millwood gave the Mariners a quality start, going six innings with three runs allowed. He also failed to strike out any of the 25 Cleveland batters he faced and only saw four hits fall into play (one hit was a Jason Kipnis solo home run).
Joe Carter Award
Pablo Sandoval drove in six runs for the Giants this week. He did this despite accumulating only six total bases and ending the week with a .208/.250/.250 line.
Adrian Gonzalez was in the news for a completely different reason, but it is notable that he too plated six runs and went .167/.200/.292.
Carlos Gomez hit two home runs and went three for three on the base paths, driving in five. He hit .190/.227/.476.
Dustin Ackley collected seven hits in 25 PA, but because only one hit went for extra bases and he walked only once, his line was an unimpressive .292/.320/.333.
Erick Aybar went .280/.308/.360 in 26 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Ryan Braun accumulated only five hits in 26 PA. But despite the low hit rate, he did a lot to help the Brewers. Of his five hits, one was a double, one was a triple, and one was a home run. He also drew five walks for a .238/.385/.524 triple slash line.
Steve Balboni Award
Drew Stubbs struck out 14 times in 25 PA and predictably ended up with a .208/.240/.208 line.
Colby Rasmus scuffled, fanning 13 times in 26 PA and going .043/.154/.043.
Mark Trumbo struck out 12 times in 26 PA, going .208/.269/.333.
Tyler Greene whiffed 12 times in 23 PA, going .091/.130/.227.
Carlos Pena struck out nine times in 20 PA and ended the week with a .118/.286/.176 line.
Three true outcomes
Brett Jackson put on a staggering display of TTO prowess this week. He smacked two home runs, walked five times, and struck out seven times in 21 PA.
Giancarlo Stanton went yard five times, walked once, and struck out nine times in 29 PA.
He hit no homers, but Pedro Alvarez did walked seven times and struck out eight times in 24 PA.
Adam Dunn went three-three-seven in 25 PA.
Norichika Aoki did not hit any home runs, draw any walks, or strike any outs in 24 PA.
Elvis Andrus went zero-zero-two in 30 PA.
Ackley went zero-one-one in 25 PA.
Jacoby Ellsbury went zero-one-two in 30 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Adrian Beltre was magnificent this week, going .433/.433/1.100 for the Rangers. I am sure all are aware of his cycle, but it goes beyond that as he collected 13 hits, nine of them went for extra bases including five home runs. He did not walk this week, but he only struck out twice in 30 PA.
Also note that Beltre’s teammate, Ian Kinsler went .407/.500/.778 with six walks against only one strikeout.
NL: Jason Heyward smacked seven singles and four home runs. There were no doubles or triples. That’s fun. Also fun is his .393/.433/.821 line from this week.