Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, Sept. 2 through Sunday, Sept. 8. 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
Because Eric Stults allowed seven runs in four and two thirds, it didn’t matter how many runs Tim Lincecum allowed as long as it wasn’t that horrific and as long as he made it through five innings. He did that, yielding five runs in five and two thirds and still finding the win.
John Lackey was crushed by the Yankees lineup, allowing seven runs on eight hits and three walks. He even threw a wild pitch and hit a batter. But he made it through five and two thirds and the Yankees starter, David Huff, allowed nine runs and posted a game score of 10, so Lackey’s 28 was enough for the win.
Clayton Kershaw allowed five runs in five innings to the Rockies in Denver. The Rox collected 11 hits and a walk along the way. Kershaw still got the win, his 14th of the year, because the Dodgers offense scored a total of 10 runs in the contest. Interestingly, opposing starter, Chad Bettis escaped with a no-decision despite having been shelled for five runs in four and two thirds. Both starters tallied game scores of 28.
Somehow, Gio Gonzalez managed to allow five runs in five and two thirds against a Phillies lineup that included Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley only as pinch hitters, and was missing not only Ryan Howard but Domonic Brown as well. It featured Cesar Hernandez batting leadoff and Michael Martinez in center field. Three starting hitters finished the game with OBPs over .300 and two with slugging percentages above .400. But there he was, getting the win despite allowing this motley crew to tally five runs off him.
Andrew Albers and Paul Clemens combined to yield nine runs in five and a third on 16 hits and three walks, striking out two of the 33 batters they faced. Albers was in line for the loss until Kevin Chapman blew the hold in the eighth.
Tragic relief efforts by Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, and Preston Claiborne allowed Felix Doubront to allow six runs in three and two thirds and still not get charged with the loss and in fact allowed the Red Sox (though not Doubront) to win the game.
Bad luck division
Max Scherzer, who has mostly been on the lucky side of the ledger this year, took the loss despite holding the Red Sox offense, which was on fire all week, to two runs in seven innings on five hits and three walks, striking out eight. Jon Lester outdueled him by allowing one run in his seven frames, striking out nine.
In his second start of the week, Albers had some tough luck, tossing seven scoreless and posting a 74 game score but ending up with a no-decision at home against the Jays.
Tim Stauffer came into Tuesday’s contest, relieving Robbie Erlin with two on and one out up one. He immediately allows one of the two inherited runs to score before ending the inning. After pitching a clean seventh inning, the Padres scored a run to give Stauffer the win.
Wes Littleton Award
Brett Anderson recorded his second and third three-inning saves of the season. In the first, he took over for Jarrod Parker in the seventh inning with a seven-run lead. He gave up two runs on four hits in his three innings. In the second, he relieved Bartolo Colon when the Athletics were up by six runs and allowed one run.
Please hold the applause
Justin Grimm took the loss and a hold in the same game. He allowed the base runner that became the losing run but James Russell was the one on the mound when that runner and the one before him crossed the plate.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Brandon McCarthy struck out only two of the 33 Blue Jays he faced and while he allowed four runs and took the loss, it could have been much worse; only four of the 30 balls that were put in play off him turned into hits in his complete game.
Joe Carter Award
Only three batters drove in more than Alfonso Soriano’s eight this week. Interestingly, one of those was Brandon Barnes of the Astros, but let’s not get too far afield with that oddity. Soriano hit .222/.290/.370 in 31 PA this week. He had a negative WPA for the week.
Asdrubal Cabrera plated six runs in 24 PA. He had only one hit. He went one for 19 with two walks, a hit by pitch, and two sacrifice flies for an unspeakable .053/.167/.211.
Fellow shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria went .200/.231/.360 and he too drove in six.
Jose Tabata collected seven hits in his 23 PA this week. That was the good news. The bad news is that only two of the seven went for extra bases and those were both doubles. He also didn’t draw a walk and ended up with a .304/.304/.391 for the week.
In the grand scheme of things, a shortstop hitting .300/.333/.350 ain’t half bad. But in this specific instance, Jean Segura gets a mention here because it definitely counts as an empty batting average.
Carl Crawford posted a .292/.320/.375 in 25 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Joey Votto walked eight times in 34 PA and half of his six hits were extra base hits, two of which were home runs. Votto went .231/.412/.500 for the Reds.
Desmond Jennings walked seven times and of his four hits, one was a walk and another went over the fence. He posted a .222/.440/.444 line.
Ryan Sweeney posted a .235/.381/.471 in 21 PA.
Andre Ethier went .222/.391/.556 with five walks, three doubles, and a home run in 23 PA.
Darin Ruf walked five times in 21 PA and hit a home run on his way to a .188/.381/.375 week.
Yasiel Puig got to .200/.333/.400 in an odd way. Usually when you have a 133-point gap between a batting average and an OBP, walks are the culprit. This time, Puig didn’t walk but he did get hit by three pitches in his 18 PA.
Mitch Moreland collected only two hits but none of them were singles and he reached base by way of walk four times for a very odd but effective .154/.353/.462 in 17 PA.
Steve Balboni Award
Adam Dunn struck out 10 times and he didn’t walk once in his 21 PA, leading to a .143/.143/.286 week.
Soriano fanned eight times in his 31 PA.
Mark Trumbo fanned 10 times and went .200/.200/.480 for the Angels.
Drew Stubbs did what Drew Stubbs does and struck out nine times in 17 PA on his way to .118/.118/.176.
Similarly, Matt Dominguez struck out eight times in 17 PA and posted a putrid .188/.118/.176. That was not a misprint—they had identical lines except for the one extra strikeout for Stubbs.
Torii Hunter went down on strikes nine times in 24 PA, going .167/.167/.208.
Among other notable batters who struck out at alarming rates and posted equally alarming batting lines were Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Mike Zunino, Aaron Hill, Juan Francisco, and Wilin Rosario.
Three true outcomes
Chris Davis homered once, walked four times, and struck out 10 times in 30 PA.
Davis’ teammate Brian Roberts homered twice, walked four times, and struck out eight times in 32 PA.
A third Oriole, Adam Jones went three-three-eight in 29 PA.
There’s a poetry in Mike Napoli’s four-five-six in 26 PA.
Jay Bruce posted a three-six-eight in 34 PA.
Shin-Soo Choo’s two-nine-two in 34 PA is worth noting.
And Votto went two-eight-seven in 34 PA.
Brad Miller did not homer or walk and struck out only twice in 32 PA.
Jose Reyes went zero-one-one in 27 PA.
Trevor Crowe went zero-zero-three in 31 PA for the Astros.
Nick Markakis went zero-zero-three in 25 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: The Red Sox duo of Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks posted lines of .476/.577/1.143 in 26 PA and .464/.500/.929 in 30 PA respectively. They combined for 23 hits, three doubles, eight homers, and seven walks.
NL: Choo found his way on base safely 20 times—10 by way of hit, nine by walk, and once by hit by pitch. Two of his hits were home runs and he ended the week batting .435/.606/.696.