Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for the period of Monday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Sept. 12. All season stats are through the 12th. For award definitions, see this year’s primer.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an archaic practice that must stop
Good luck division
Sean O’Sullivan and Lucas Harrell competed to see who could get shelled more effectively. I would call it a draw as O’Sullivan gave up six runs in three innings, striking out three, and getting peppered with eight hits. Harrell yielded six in three and a third, striking out one, walking three, and allowing nine hits. Veteran readers have no doubt already come to the conclusion that both starters walked away with no decisions.
Bad luck division
It got worse for Bumgarner in his next start as he threw seven innings, allowing one run, striking out four, and walking nobody. He still got the loss when Tim Stauffer and a trio of Padres relievers shut out the Giants.
Kennedy also had a second tough start in the week, posting a six-inning no-decision in which he struck out a man per frame, didn’t allow a run, and still couldn’t avoid watching his bullpen blow the lead.
Randy Wolf threw eight frames, limiting the Cubs to one run on four hits and a walk. Ryan Dempster and the guys from Wrigley dominated the Milwaukee lineup, striking out 12 in a shutout, handing Wolf the loss.
Jeff Weaver threw eight innings, striking out six with no walks, five hits, and one run allowed. Fernando Rodney came in and allowed the Mariners to tie the game, eliminating the possibility of Weaver getting the win.
Johnny Cueto and Brian Burres each gave quality efforts to their respective teams, combining for 14 innings of work with one run between them, 13 strikeouts, three walks and seven hits. The decisions were left to the bullpens.
Joaquin Benoit’s first win came in the same game as his third blown save, which took Brett Cecil out of danger when it comes to a potential loss, given that Cecil had been touched up by the Rays lineup for seven runs in two innings.
Chris Volstad allowed five runs in as many innings. The majority of the damage was done with three home runs the Phillies smacked. After Volstad left the game, Jose Contreras made it interesting again, allowing three runs in two thirds of an inning punctuated by Mike Stanton’s 18th home run of the season. Contreras still received credit for a hold. The third thing that happened in the game to make it a multiple category winner was a blown save by Ryan Madson, which took Volstad off the hook and the run that Jose Veras allowed to give Madson a vultured win.
The opposite of a vulture
After Jordan Zimmerman struggled his way through four innings, allowing three runs and walking four, Scott Olsen came in and threw four scoreless innings while Danny Espinosa destroyed the Mets to give Olsen the win.
Now back to your regularly scheduled negativity and cynicism.
Wes Littleton Award
Matt Capps was tasked with protecting a three-run lead in the ninth inning against the Royals. He gave up a double to Wilson Betemit, who scored two batters later on a groundout, making it a two-run lead. Furthermore, he walked Kila Ka’aihue, who then scored on an Alex Gordon single. Then, after giving up a steal to put the potential tying run in scoring position, he finally eked out a fly ball from Mitch Maier to end the game and give him an ugly looking save.
Please hold the applause
Nick Masset’s subpar work this week wasn’t limited to giving Jason Hammel a cheap win. He also got the hold in Saturday’s game despite being roughed up three hits and a walk in two thirds of an inning of work. He was in line for the rare loss/hold combo, but Joel Hanrahan blew the save for Pittsburgh.
The very next day, Mike Gonzalez actually completed the task of getting a loss and a hold in the same game thanks to Daniel Hernandez who allowed two baseunners inherited from Gonzalez to score on a Miguel Cabrera double.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
R.A. Dickey faced 24 Nats and despite the fact that he struck out only one of them, he was tagged for only five hits, one of which was a home run, so obviously it wasn’t subject to the defensive whims of his Mets teammates.
Joe Carter Award
Ivan Rodriguez drove in six, which is made all the more impressive by the fact that he had only 12 plate appearances. What makes it less impressive is that he hit poorly enough to make one wonder how it was possible to drive in those runs: .273/.308/.364 is a very empty batting line.
Jose Tabata posted a True Sanchez, collecting six hits, all singles, with no walks in 21 plate appearances for a .286/.286/.286 line.
Julio Borbon hit .316/.316/.368 in 19 plate appearances.
As far as I can tell, Nyjer Morgan failed to do anything crazy this week. He also failed to do anything useful beyond hit for a reasonable average, going .273/.304/.318 in 23 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
It isn’t MVP candidate material, but Brad Hawpe hit .231/.375/.462 in 16 PA. One of his three hits was a home run and he chipped in three walks.
Steve Balboni Award
Chase Headley struck out 10 times in 27 PA this week, leading to his .154/.185/.192 line.
Given that Padres fans are looking for nearby cliffs to jump off of and I feel like my Headley reference is sending them that way, I will give them a bit of schadenfreude by mentioning that Casey Blake went .182/.217/.318 while striking out nine times in 23 PA.
Three true outcomes
In only 16 PA, Jim Thome smacked three home runs, walked four times and struck out three times.
Chris Johnson went two-three-10 in 21 PA. That is a seventh of his strikeouts for the season in a span of five games.
He is missing a category, but Jack Cust’s zero-seven-seven in 23 PA is impressive.
Melky Cabrera posted a zero-zero-two in 23 PA.
And Jhonny Peralta went zero-one-one in 24 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: It is too close for me to call between two AL hitters who have returned from the dead this season. Vernon Wells slugged three home runs and walked six times in 27 PA to go .381/.519/.810. And Vladimir Guerrero went .500/.516/.767 in 31 PA.
NL: Troy Tulowitzki smoked six home runs in his .370/.414/1.148 week.