For award definitions and background on the column itself, please consult the Primer.
All weekly stats are for the period of Friday, June 13 through Thursday, June 19. All season totals are through the 19th.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an idiotic practice that must stop
Good Luck Division:
Incidentally, Burres is 6-5 on the year with a 5.24 ERA and a .298/.355/.460 line against.
Eddie Bonine won his first career start while the Dodgers scored six runs off of him in five innings. In that same game, Brad Penny learned that you’re not doing your team any favors when you fail to disclose that your arm hurts like hell.
Gavin Floyd gave up seven runs in 5.2 innings. Only one was earned, but the others resulted from an error on a double-play ball, after which he allowed a three-run double and a two-run homer, then another double that didn’t score anybody but adds to the point that dude was scuffling. He won because Dumatrait was again giving up runs left and right.
Bad Luck Division:
Wait, Brian Moehler? Really? I hadn’t heard that name in a long time.
Vulture alert! Vulture alert!
The Wes Littleton Award
C.J. Wilson allowed two runs in the ninth on three hits and two walks and was generally awful against the Mets. He got the save, demonstrating how bad you can pitch and still get a save in a three-run game.
Takashi Saito’s three-run save on Thursday was pretty standard. He started the bottom of the ninth. No outs, nobody on, facing the Reds’ 9, 1, and 2 spots, starting with pinch-hitter Eric Patterson. It’s not especially something to raise your eyebrow or your ire. But it probably should be. Thanks to our friends at FanGraphs, we can tell you that of the four relievers to enter the game that night for the Dodgers, Saito entered with the lowest leverage index. This is a waste of what is theoretically the Dodgers best reliever. It’s time for this to change.
Please hold the applause
In one of the worst performances this season that you’ll see with an H next to it in the box score, Carlos Villanueva entered in the top of the eighth with a one-run lead over the Twins. He proceeded to walk Carlos Gomez (which in itself is difficult to do). Alexi Casilla sacrificed Gomez over to second. And then Villanueva proceeded to walk Joe Mauer on five pitches. Brian Shouse allowed Gomez to score on a Justin Morneau single, blowing the save and one could probably say he punished Villanueva and his ERA for his ineptitude. Nevertheless, Villanueva still was credited with a hold because the team still had a lead when he left the game.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Finally, reader C.H. alerted me to CJ Wilson’s other meltdown this week where he entered with a two-run lead over the Braves. Walk, strikeout, double, RBI single, in comes Jamey Wright into a suddenly one-run game with runners on the corners and only one out. Wilson gets the hold. The runner on third that Wright inherited scores on a sac fly before Wright mercifully ends the inning with the score now tied up. The Rangers score on a walk off single. Wright gets the win to go with his blown save. There were two candidates there in one inning of work.
Hey, did you used to be…
The Joe Carter Award
Jason Michaels has the best claim this week courtesy of his seven RBI and .190/.227/.381 week.
Honorable Mention gives us a quintet of guys who drove in five each. Juan Pierre .259/.259/.370; Mark Teixeira .231/.323/.269; Nate McLouth .208/.259/.417; Chris B. Young .250/.240/.417; and Alexi Casilla .174/.222/.217.
Season: Ryan Howard is still the leader here with 63 RBI and a .219/.318/.480 line. He’s actually tied for the NL lead with Chase Utley and Adrian Gonzalez, both of whom are comfortably out-hitting the big Philly slugger.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I’ve Got Award
Season: Jose Lopez is still walking away with this one, primarily because he refuses to take walks. .290/.304/.410 is a good part of the reason why the Mariners can’t score runs. But seeing Juan Pierre in the Carter Award category made me look up how he is doing since he is usually a pretty regular contender for the Sanchez. He’s on the fringes again at .280/.336/.326. He has 10 extra-base hits in 236 at-bats. That’s our Juan.
Since I admonish those who demonstrate poor success rates stealing bases, I figure I should commend those who do it without getting nailed. And Willy Taveras of the Rockies did just that this week, stealing eight bases and not getting caught once.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
Marcus Thames deserves a special mention, even if he did hit .316 this week. He happened to hit six home runs. This was well publicized, so you are probably aware of his streaks. He homered in five straight games and he had a streak where each of his eight hits was a home run. In the weekly sample I look at for this article, he had six hits, all of which went over the fence. Coupled with his three walks, that led to a .316/.409/1.263 line in 19 at bats. Nice work from the former National Guard member.
Season: Adam Dunn .228/.396/.511
The Steve Balboni Award
Like Thames, Emil Brown did something you don’t see very often. He walked to the plate seven times and he struck out seven times. That’s Balboni taken to the farthest possible extent.
Mark Reynolds didn’t do anything THAT remarkable, but he did put the ball in play in only eight of his 18 at-bats. In those eight times, he had three hits, one of which was a double and one of which was a triple. He also walked five times for a .167/.348/.333 line. It would have looked much more impressive had he made more consistent contact.
Season: Ryan Howard is now up over 100 strikeouts at 102 in 276 at-bats. He’s hitting .221/.319/.486.
Elsewhere, Justin Upton is in a slump and his K rate is starting to look ugly at 84 in 228 AB. He’s getting closer to the Balboni line of 35 percent give or take. And his .250/.365/.447 line is still very much acceptable but starting to sag underneath the weight of strikeouts in 37 percent of his at-bats.
To his credit, Justin’s brother B.J. Upton made adjustments after striking out in 32.5 percent of his at-bats last season and is at 24 percent this season. His .292/.402/.436 line is a reflection of that work.
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Season: Jack Cust 267 PA, 11 HR, 57 BB, 75 K
It’s great for this Royals fan to watch Mike Aviles take over for Tony Pena Jr. Watching him do it so dramatically is sheer bliss. I’d say that it has been a while since we saw a Wally Pipping this big, but then I documented the Jay Bruce breakout just three weeks ago.
This Week’s MVP
AL: It feels comforting to write the name Alex Rodriguez in this space. I got so used to doing so last season, but this year has been crazy with guys like Kevin Youkilis, Carlos Quentin and even, however briefly, Brandon Inge showing up toward the top of the AL OPS leader board. A-Rod hit .478/.556/1.043 this week with four home runs, four walks, and two steals.
NL: Ryan Howard had a nice week and I’ve already mentioned him twice in this column. But here he is again courtesy of his hitting a smoldering .385/.448/.962.
Season: The Big Puma.362/.447/.708.
Most Valuable Pitcher
I meant to give out these awards last week. They were in my notebook, but I overlooked them. Luckily the two players I had intended to honor last week are still in position to be honored this week with only the cumulative stats changing.
AL: Shaun Marcum is allowing opposing batters a .198/.263/.338 line. A 2.65 ERA really only tells part of the story as he’s tied for second in Win Shares among AL pitchers (no mean feat for a Blue Jay this season) and is leading in Pitching Runs Created.
Have a nice week everybody.