Welcome to the awards.
For award definitions and background on the column itself, please consult the Primer.
All weekly stats are for the period of Monday, May 11 though Sunday, May 17. All season stats are through Sunday.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an arcane practice that must stop
Good Luck Division:
Jonathon Niese and Jo-Jo Reyes allowed 10 runs in seven and two thirds, but both escaped the scorekeeper’s blame. That fell to Ken Takahashi, who yielded a home run to Martin Prado in the top of the 12th.
Andrew Carpenter got really lucky with his run support and with a fortuitous rain delay that made his 4.2-inning, five-run start enough to get the win. I am sure my wife would know just what kind of thank-you cards are appropriate to send to Raul Ibanez and Daniel Cabrera.
Bad Luck Division:
Randy Wells now is the proud owner of two starts, 11 innings pitched, no earned runs, and two no-decisions. In his more recent example, he went six, striking out four and allowing seven baserunners with a 10-4 groundball-flyball ratio.
Vulture alert! Vulture alert!
Jonathan Broxton coughed up a lead inherited from starter Chad Billingsley and reliever Cory Wade after they had produced eight innings of one-run ball. Billingsley was brilliant, going seven solid frames, striking out nine and allowing only seven baserunners. But Chad Durbin had Broxton’s back, matching him run for allowed run and handing him a vultured win.
Wes Littleton Award
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Franchise milestone updates
The Dodgers are closing in on their 10,000th win, joining the Cubs and Giants in that exclusive club. They are only 14 victories away.
The original inspiration for this recurring piece was the Phillies’ 10,000th loss back in 2007, becoming the first professional sports organization to lose that many games in its history. At the time I am writing this, they stand at 8,965 wins and 10,114 losses, or 1,149 games below .500. That means they could go undefeated from now until the end of the 2016 season and still begin 2017 at 51 games under .500. Sometimes it really is staggering to consider exactly how terrible this franchise was in the 1920s, ’30’s, and ’40s.
Joe Carter Award
Jack Cust collected seven RBI in 20 at bats while hitting a meager .150/.182/.350.
Season: James Loney has only nine extra base hits this season and he has homered every 73.5 at-bats. But he still is driving in runs largely because it is hard not to do so this season when placed in the Dodgers lineup. His 27 RBI stand in contrast to his .272/.345/.361 line, which really is awful for a first baseman.
Rey Sanchez Award
Rivera slapped six hits in 20 at bats, but all were singles and he chipped in only one walk for a .300/.318/.300 line.
LaRoche added a double for flavor, but still hit a very pedestrian .300/.333/.350.
Ramirez hit .278/.278/.278 in 18 at bats.
Season: Rivera’s performance this week puts him ahead in the race for the season crown: In 109 at bats he now has a mere five doubles, one home run and six walks. He has turned into an extreme contact-oriented batter with only nine strikeouts. He is hitting .284/.319/.358.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Josh Hamilton and Josh Willingham had similar weeks. They each had 21 at-bats in which they singled but once for a .238 batting average. Hamilton added three home runs, a triple and four walks. Willingham chipped in two doubles, two homers and two walks. Hamilton’s line: .238/.333/.762; Willingham: .238/.333/.619.
Season: Willingham is an easy choice with a .208/.345/.514 line punctuated with six home runs, four doubles and 12 walks in 72 at-bats.
Steve Balboni Award
The overall futility of Josh Fields this week is staggering. He struck out eight times in 18 at bats, walked once, and hit .167/.167/.167. So he struck out way too often, hit for no power, and wasn’t good at getting on base by way of the walk.
Season: Chris Davis is securely in the lead with 54 strikeouts in 128 at bats, blunting his 10 home runs and dragging down his line to .227/.283/.492, on basically a grotesque caricature of what we have seen from such players as Mike Jacobs in the recent past.
Also note that the aforementioned Fields is in dire straits himself, with 41 whiffs in 125 at bats, dragging his line down to .224/.302/.320 and derailing* what was to be his coronation season where he took over Joe Crede’s role as a designated power source and as starting third baseman.
*Something that has always bugged me is why “derailed” is used as the opposite of as “untracked” when theoretically they mean the same thing. Is being on the rail/track a good thing or a bad thing?
Three True Outcomes Alert!!!
Justin Morneau was excellent all around in the TTO categories, slugging four home runs, drawing six walks and striking out five times in 24 at-bats.
Season: Carlos Pena is rocking along with 13 home runs, 24 walks and 49 strikeouts in 139 plate appearances. A full 61.9 percent of his trips end with no balls in play.
This week’s MVP
AL: It may be a bit of a shock to the system, but Jason Bartlett had a career week, going .476/.500/.857 in 21 at-bats, and stealing four bases without getting nailed once.
Season: Victor Martinez has been stellar despite the struggles of his teammates, producing MVP-caliber numbers for his last place side. His .401/.478/.632 line is astronomical for a catcher and he is walking more (24) than he is striking out (14) by a good margin.
NL: Raul Ibanez hit .481/.576/.963 with four home runs and four walks in 27 at-bats