Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for the period of Monday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Oct. 3. All season stats are through the third. For award definitions, see this year’s primer.
This is the last regular weekly edition of the awards for obvious reasons. Next week we start handing out the season’s grand prizes.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an archaic practice that must stop
Good luck division
Kyle Davies and Kevin Slowey combined to throw five innings and allowed 13 runs. They were each spared the indignity of a loss as reliever Jeff Manship allowed three runs of his own and absorbed the demerit.
Bad luck division
This game really does qualify for multiple categories, but it lands here. Hiroki Kuroda and Jeff Francis combined to allow 10 runs in nine and a third. Kuroda was in line for the win for no reason other than the fact that he spread his five runs out over six and a third. But Ronald Belisario stepped in and blew the save. Given the category listed, you no doubt have already figured out that the Dodgers bats picked up the slack and gave Belisario his third win on the season despite the ugly blown save (which was also responsible for one of the runs charged to Kuroda).
Wes Littleton Award
It is pretty common for me to whine about three-run saves in which the closer retires three awful batters. Well, when the three batters are as bad as Carlos Lee, Geoff Blum and Jason Michaels, I feel it is appropriate to complain about two-run saves as well.
Francisco Cordero’s 39th save was of the three-run variety and was accomplished at the expense of Lorenzo Cain (who isn’t a half bad hitter), Jonathan Lucroy and Alcides Escobar (who aren’t good hitters).
Please hold the applause
Two of the three outs that Tony Sipp needed to get the hold in a game in which he was protecting a three-run lead were Gerald Laird and Ramon Santiago, neither of whom anybody north of the International League would consider a threat. The third was Casper Wells, who has hit well (no word play intended), but who also is a 25-year-old rookie who struck out 111 times in Triple-A this year.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Joe Carter Award
Alex Rodriguez finished the season with a poor week, going .192/.267/.308 in 29 plate appearances. Nevertheless, batting in the middle of the best order in baseball has its perks: He managed to drive in six runs along the way.
Angel Pagan had a perfect Sanchez line, going .321/.321/.321 in 28 PA. A hearty well done goes to him.
Howie Kendrick smacked eight hits in 28 plate appearances. However only two of those were extra base hits and he failed to walk, leading to a .296/.286/.370 week.
Ichiro Suzuki limped to the finish line with a .281/.303/.313.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Rickie Weeks produced only six hits in 29 PA, but one was a double and one was a triple. He also stole a base and walked four times for a not-too-shabby .240/.387/.400 line.
Steve Balboni Award
Brent Lillibridge came to the plate 16 times this week and struck out 12 times. The only thing that can save you from that kind of K rate is hitting a home run every time up. Instead Lillibridge hit .125/.125/.125.
Greg Dobbs fanned eight times in 17 PA (16 AB). Even batting .500 on balls in play got him to only .250/.294/.313.
Three true outcomes
Kelly Johnson hit one home run, walked five times, and struck out nine times in 22 PA.
Matt Kemp went five-two-eight in 24.
Kila Ka’aihue went three-five-eight in 27.
He was missing a category, but Emilio Bonifacio’s zero-six-nine in 25 PA seems noteworthy.
Jay Bruce gave us a four-two-eight
And Justin Smoak’s first ever appearance in the Awards comes with a three-six-four in 29 PA.
Ichiro went zero-one-one in 33 PA.
Howie Kendrick went zero-zero-two in 28 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: I’m going with Smoak here, given that he gave the Mariners 23 total bases and 17 times on base in 29 PA. .478/.586/1.000 is tasty.
I’m also going to mention Ka’aihue here since like Smoak he spent a lot of time in the PCL this year and he finished strong for a bad team, going .318/.429/.909. The Kila Monster even managed to find the wheels to collect a triple.
NL: Keeping with the theme of hitters finishing strong while playing for a team that is long out of contention, Pedro Alvarez smoked three home runs and finished at .440/.462/.840 while Matt Kemp used his TTO powers to go .273/.360/.955 for the boys in blue.