Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for Monday, September 24th through Sunday, September 30th. 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
Ricky Romero scuffled to a 34 game score, allowing four runs in five innings on eight hits and four walks, putting another on base via HBP. He was credited with the win as Wei-Yin Chen and Jake Arrieta were trashed by the Blue Jays offense for nine runs.
Roy Halladay only made it through five innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks, striking out seven. But the Phillies threw up five runs on Ricky Nolasco and Halladay grabbed his 11th win of the season.
Tim Lincecum was tagged for five runs in six innings by the Padres but was fortunately bailed out by his teammates as they scored three runs off Huston Street in the ninth inning to win the game and remove the threat of another loss on Lincecum’s 2012 record.
Bad luck division
Lost in Homer Bailey’s no-hitter was A.J. Burnett’s good start against a lineup that was far better than the one that Bailey faced that day. That isn’t to say that it was more impressive than what Bailey did as Bailey struck out 10 and walked only one, giving the Reds a 96 game score, but just that it is hard to hold down a lineup with Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, and Todd Frazier. Burnett tossed eight innings and gave up one run, limiting the Reds to seven hits and a walk, striking out five. He had a good game and would have deserved a win had the other pitcher not been amazing and his own lineup not contained the likes of Clint Barmes, Jordy Mercer, and Rod Barajas. This was the very picture of a hard luck loss.
Jake Peavy gave the White Sox a good start, going seven frames, getting tagged for only two runs on four hits and a walk, striking out six. But his 67 game score wasn’t enough for the win as the Rays limited Peavy’s teammates to two runs in the game. Peavy took a no-decision.
Joaquin Benoit surrendered the lead to the Royals on a ninth inning Billy Butler solo home run. Shortly after that, the Tigers lineup scored a run off of Tim Collins and Kelvin Herrera to hand Benoit the win.
Casey Fien entered the game for the Twins tasked with making sure a 2-1 deficit to the Yankees didn’t get out of hand. He was successful in as much as he only allowed a solo home run before inducing enough weak contact to end his one inning, but he did not really help the Twins much with a WPA of -0.09. However the next half inning involved the Twins plating four runs and gifting Fien his second career victory.
Wes Littleton Award
In protecting a three run lead in the ninth inning, Jim Johnson faced J.P. Arencibia, Yunel Escobar, and Anthony Gose. Each of the three batters ended the day with an OBP between .263 and .298. Then on Sunday, he protected a three run lead against the likes of Scott Podsednik, James Loney, and Ryan Lavarnway for his 50th save of the year.
Please hold the applause
Donnie Veal entered the game for the White Sox at the start of the ninth with a two run lead. He struck out Ben Francisco and was pulled when the Rays brought in Ryan Roberts to pinch hit for Matt Joyce. So he had a two run lead and he faced one batter with the bases empty and he got a hold for that. Presuming that they were going to pull him when the Rays brought in the pinch hitter, it was actually impossible for him to not get the hold.
Bryan Shaw was credited with both a loss and a hold on Sunday as he left the game with the lead but with runners on base who later scored off Matt Albers to put the Diamondbacks down a run, a deficit they would not rally to overcome in the game.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Scott Diamond gave the Twins seven and a third innings, allowing two runs on six hits. He did this despite striking out only one of the 29 Tigers he faced in the game. His game score was actually lower than that of Drew Smyly, who only went five and a third but struck out five.
Joe Carter Award
Josh Donaldson drove in six runs for the Athletics in 29 PA. Two home runs this week explains a lot of that but it doesn’t completely mitigate the damage done by his inability to reach base by methods other than a home run, leading to a .214/.241/.429 line.
Curtis Granderson went .148/.226/.370 and still found a way to plate six runs in 30 PA.
Jeff Francoeur drove in five runs for the Royals. Like Donaldson, he had problems getting on base via single or walk. He smacked two home runs and two doubles but only collected one single and no walks, leading to a grim .179/.207/.464 line.
Allen Craig went .286/.286/.286 in 28 PA for the Cardinals. That was an entire week with no extra base hits, no walks, no hit by pitch, and just eight singles.
And a week after talking about how great Ichiro has been, he goes .278/.270/.333 for the Yankees in a barely believable 37 PA. Eight singles, two doubles, no walks, three of five stealing bases.
Harmon Killebrew Award
The secondary skills that Allen Craig forgot this week? Maybe they were transferred to teammate Carlos Beltran. Half of his four hits were home runs and he walked five times in 23 PA, accounting for a .222/.391/.556 line.
Chris Iannetta posted a .200/.368/.400 line in 19 PA thanks to a home run being one of his three hits and the four walks he drew.
Ian Kinsler went .222/.364/.370 in 33 PA.
The slugging is very lacking, but Carlos Santana reached base 14 times in 26 PA. Only three times were by hit. The other 11 were by base on balls. .200/.538/.200 is a very odd looking line, but an effective one.
Steve Balboni Award
He had the slugging down with two home runs. And he had the walks down with four. But when you strike out in 13 of your 25 at bats, your average is going to suffer. Adam Dunn was in this predicament this week with a .120/.241/.360 line coming as a side effect of a league leading strikeout total.
Jonny Gomes fanned nine times in 17 PA, leading to a .250/.294/.313 week.
Drew Stubbs has a habit of striking out a lot and did so this week with nine of them in 18 PA and a .111/.111/.111 nightmare of a line.
Seth Smith went .077/.077/.077 with seven whiffs in 13 PA.
Other batters who had notable strikeout totals and iffy bating lines to match were Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, B.J. Upton, Francoeur, Desmond Jennings, Justin Maxwell, Jay Bruce, Colby Rasmus, Matt Holliday, and Andre Ethier.
Three true outcomes
I mentioned the Big Donkey above, leading off the Balboni. Two homers, four walks, and 13 strikeouts in 29 PA is heavy TTO territory.
Mike Napoli went three-two-nine in 25 PA.
Brett Lawrie posted a two-five-nine in 36 PA.
Mike Trout went two-six-eight in 29 PA.
Iannetta’s one-four-seven in 19 PA qualifies.
Carlos Santana is missing the home runs, but zero-11-five gets you a mention here, as does Jason Kipnis and his own zero-nine-four in 33 PA.
And finally lets take a moment to nod at Ike Davis and his three-four-seven in 25 PA.
Ichiro did not homer or walk and only struck out once in 37 PA.
Aaron Hill posted no home runs, one walk, and one strikeout in 25 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Call it a copout if you wish, but I am going to hand a shared award to Chris Davis and Robinson Cano. Davis had a huge week in hitting for power, posting an awesome .423/.483/1.038 line in 28 PA. His five home runs topped baseball.
Cano did not hit any balls over the fence this week, but he did smack 10 singles and five doubles for a .536/.548/.714 line.
NL: You know what? I’m going to hand out a joint MVP here too because Matt Kemp and Bryce Harper were each preposterously good in the National League this week. Kemp went .458/.519/1.083 with four singles, three doubles, four home runs, and two walks in 26 PA.
Harper posted a very impressive .481/.533/.963 with seven singles, two doubles, a triple, three home runs, three walks, and a perfect three for three in stealing bases.