Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for the games starting Monday, Aug. 29 and ending Sunday, Sept. 4. 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
Luke Hochevar got two wins this week. In one, he was great, allowing only one run and four base runners in eight frames. In the other he was charged with five runs in seven innings on eight hits and two walks. But Alex Gordon and the Royals lineup made Max Scherzer their own piñata and all Hochevar had to do was endure for long enough to collect his win.
Jose Arredondo’s blown save ensured that neither Johnny Cueto nor Chris Carpenter would take the loss despite their allowing a combined 11 runs in 11 innings on 16 hits and three walks. More on this game in a minute.
Dillon Gee has a great name. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned that. He had a terrible game and still escaped with a no-decision. Gee was charged with six runs in five innings. He even allowed Tom Milone to hit a three-run home run on the first pitch he ever saw as a major league batter.
Bad luck division
Brandon McCarthy went eight innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out 10 and induced 10 groundball outs in 28 Cleveland batters faced. He still got the loss because the White Elephants only scored one run.
Wes Littleton Award
Clutching a three-run lead, Carlos Marmol faced Eli Whiteside, Cody Ross, and Andres Torres. Because he hit Ross with a pitch, he also faced Jeff Keppinger. Any three-run save against the Giants where you don’t face Carlos Beltran and Pablo Sandoval should be questioned. Maybe two-run saves as well.
Kyle Farnsworth retired Robert Andino, Nolan Reimold, and J.J. Hardy to earn his 23rd save of the season. He was protecting a three-run lead and faced the seven, eight, nine, and leadoff batters in the Orioles lineup.
Please hold the applause
Rookie Dustin Ackley was the first batter Brian Fuentes faced. Ackley smacked a two-run home run and Fuentes still got the hold because in addition to a base runner, he also inherited a three-run lead.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Blake Beavan had a respectable showing, allowing three runs in seven innings on eight hits, taking a no-decision. It could have been much worse as he failed to strike out a single halo from the 26 he faced.
Joel Pineiro allowed only one run in seven innings on five hits. The one run was on a solo home run. Pineiro struck out only one of the 25 Minnesota batters he faced and only four balls found pasture. He got the win.
Joe Carter Award
Juan Rivera somehow drove in five Dodgers in a week when he had but two total bases. .100/.240/.100 is not helpful.
Jhonny Peralta plated seven while batting .273/.333/.384 in 24 PA.
Alex Rios collected seven hits in 21 at-bats. On the downside, all seven were singles, he failed to walk even once, and was caught stealing in his only attempt. .333/.318/.333.
Ichiro Suzuki went .300/.300/.400 in 30 PA.
Freddie Freeman and Salvador Perez each provided their teams with five hits in 17 at-bats. Two of Perez’s hits were doubles and one was a home run. He also walked once. Only one of Freeman’s hits went for extra bases and he did not walk. The other obvious difference is in positional value. Freeman’s line was .294/.294/.353. Perez ended the week at .294/.368/.588.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Carlos Santana only rapped out six hits in 25 at-bats. That is a sub-optimal .240 average. But secondary skills are a great thing. Santana had two doubles, two home runs, and four walks, leading to a very nice .240/.355/.560 line.
Johnny Damon posted a .200/.385/.650 line in 25 PA. Three of his four hits were home runs, and he walked five times.
Jayson Werth went a similar path, ending up at the Mendoza line, but walking six times and hitting a home run. He also went two-for-two on the bases. .200/.429/.400 is an unconventional but productive line.
And Justin Upton: .200/.500/.467 in 22 PA.
Steve Balboni Award
Brandon Allen struck out an impressive 15 times in 33 at-bats and ended the week with a .182/.289/.242 line.
Mark Reynolds did Mark Reynolds things, fanning 14 times in 27 PA and having a week that will happen when you make that little contact: .130/.259/.304.
Three true outcomes
Ryan Howard smacked three home runs, walked five times, and struck out nine times in 32 PA.
Brian McCann went 1-3-9 in 23 PA.
When did Emilio Bonifacio learn to take a walk? His 56 in 2011 accounts for 44 percent of his career total. This week he went 0-7-9 in 40 PA.
Matt Kemp went 1-12-8 in 31 PA.
Angel Pagan went 0-0-3 in 31 PA.
Mike Moustakas went 0-1-2 in 31 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Wow. Austin Jackson went .529/.543/.971 in 35 PA. He smacked 10 singles, three doubles, three triples, and two home runs. He also walked once and stole two bases and was not caught. That was a nice week in any context, but especially given that he has been bad all season, going .260/.324/.396.
NL: David Wright made a lot of contact. He made a lot of hard contact. .500/.594/.808 is spectacular. Wright only struck out twice in 32 PA and walked six times. Five of his 13 hits were doubles and one was a home run.