Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for the games starting Monday, Sept. 12 and ending Sunday, Sept. 18. 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
Rodrigo Lopez was touched up for five runs in five and a third. The Reds smacked four home runs off him. Despite his 33 game score, he got the win as the North Siders teed off for eight runs off Dontrelle Willis.
Tim Wakefield continued a season-long trend of pitching poorly but getting the win courtesy of Red Sox run support. This time he was shelled for five runs in six innings by the Jays but got the win because Boston smacked around Brandon Morrow and ended up tallying 18 runs in the contest.
Bartolo Colon and Henderson Alvarez combined to allow 11 runs in 10 innings on 16 hits and two walks. They struck out only four. Despite his 34 game score, Alvarez was in line for the win until Carlos Villanueva coughed up the lead and ended up with the loss that could have gone to either of the starters.
Colby Lewis was shelled for six runs in five and two thirds but received credit for the win because his teammates from Arlington scored seven and his bullpen held the Mariners scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Bad luck division
Bud Norris gave the Astros seven innings of one-run baseball to work with. He allowed only four hits and one walk. The effort was in vain as Roy Halladay shut out an awful lineup that had five non-pitchers with OBP’s under .315 and none over .345.
It isn’t one of the best games you’ll see me highlight, but Matt Garza deserves at least a mention for getting a no-decision despite going nine innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and no walks.
For the first time in quite a long time, I can’t find a reliever who blew the save and was then gifted the win as his teammates scored runs in the next half inning. So pulling a name from the list of relievers who had the random fortune to pitch right before the run support kicked, we will cite Waldis Joaquin retired Ty Wigginton and Mark Ellis for his first career win.
Wes Littleton Award
Chris Perez allowed two doubles, an RBI groundout, and a single before retiring Rene Tosoni to finally close out the game. That’s the same Rene Tosoni that ended the game with a season line of .169/.239/.261. The group of batters that pushed him to the edge was composed of studs like Joe Benson, Matt Tolbert, Ben Revere, and Trevor Plouffe. But since he had a three-run lead to start with, his two runs allowed don’t matter to the save statistic.
Please hold the applause
Henry Rodriguez went two thirds of an inning, walking three. He also threw a wild pitch and somehow in spite of all of this, he didn’t allow a run and got credit for a hold in a game where his team ended up winning 10-1.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Joe Carter Award
Juan Rivera found a way to drive in seven and still hit only .208/.269/.375 in 26 PA.
Alfonso Soriano plated six and went .200/.273/.300 in 22 PA.
In 27 PA, Jimmy Rollins put up a perfect Sanchez line of .296/.296/.296. That’s eight hits with exactly none of them being a double, triple, or home run and a week without a walk or a hit by pitch.
Jon Jay smacked seven hits in 23 PA. That was good. What is bad is that he did little else as he did not walk and only one of his hits went for extra bases.
Marco Scutaro went .300/.318/.400 in 20 PA.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Jason Bay only placed five batted balls out of the reach of fielders this week in 27 PA. He made up for that shortcoming by having two of the five be doubles and by walking six times. His line was a very respectable, though low on the slugging .238/.407/.333.
Steve Balboni Award
It seems incredible that Emilio Bonifacio has struck out 122 times this year in 601 PA while his career rate is 308 in 1524. This week was a banner week for his new-found hacktastic ways with 13 strikeouts in 40 PA. Thirteen strikeouts in a week is something for which his secondary skills cannot make up and he ended the week at .231/.231/.282.
Austin Jackson fanned 11 times in 28 PA and ended the week at .120/.267/.240.
Rockstar rookie Dustin Ackley had a bad week with 10 whiffs in 24 PA and an anemic .130/.167/.130 line.
As I am coming off of a long vacation where the only significant amount of baseball I watched was Monday’s Giants/Padres game where I was a paying member of the audience, it is reassuring to notice that some things haven’t changed. Miguel Olivo striking out nine times and giving his team a .190/.182/.381 face palm of a week is definitely something familiar, like your mother’s cooking or laundry fresh from the dryer.
Three true outcomes
B.J. Upton hit one home run, walked five times, and struck out 10 times in 31 PA.
Brandon Phillips went 4-4-9 in 31 PA.
Brandon Belt is missing a category, but 3-0-8 in 21 PA is impressive from a TTO perspective.
Young Dee Gordon went 0-0-1 in 32 PA.
Young Eric Hosmer went 0-0-2 in 28 PA.
Semi-young Neil Walker went 0-0-3 in 25 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Erick Aybar raised his OPS 36 points in one week over 540 plate appearances into the season. Anytime a shortstop smacks seven extra-base hits in a week, it is by definition a strong one. .455/.520/1.045 backs that up.
NL: Giant teammates (giant as in the team, not in the Kyle Blanks sense) Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Beltran went off this week. Panda smacked 11 hits consisting of four singles, a double, two triples, and four home runs. He also walked twice and prompted my wife to ask the question of why so many people at AT&T Park were wearing hats styled after pandas. His line ended up at an absurd .440/.481/1.120. Beltran went .455/.526/.848. Notably he hit four doubles and three home runs while also walking five times against two strikeouts. If any particularly wealthy Giants fans see my visit to the left coast as a good luck charm, I can be bribed into relocating.