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, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 27. All season stats are through the 27th.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an arcane practice that must stop
Good luck division
Lenny DiNardo and Tim Wakefield each got pounded and each escaped official blame for their failure. DiNardo allowed eight runs on 10 hits and six walks, striking out nobody in five innings. It is remarkable that he actually made it through five. Wakefield gave up five runs in as many innings, walking seven while the knuckleball evidently fluttered a little too far. Nevertheless, it is remarkable that any pitcher would be so wild that Willie Bloomquist, Mike Jacobs and Miguel Olivo would each walk twice in the same game.
Bad luck division
It took until Saturday this past week, which is about four days longer than I usually have to wait to find one, but we have a game in which somebody blew the save and lucked into the undeserved win. Kerry Wood is the reliever in question. George Sherrill followed on the same day.
Wes Littleton Award
Please hold the applause
Brandon League received a hold for pitching a scoreless eighth inning with a three-run lead when the three batters who were scheduled up when he entered were Jeff Fiorentino, Michael Aubrey and the withered husk of Ty Wigginton.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Rick Porcello has three straight quality starts in which he has struck out a total of four batters. He hasn’t had a game in which he has struck out better than a batter per inning in over a month. In that span he has pitched 46 innings with a 3.66 ERA and a .678 OPS against.
Joe Carter Award
Josh Hamilton somehow managed to drive in five runs in 10 at-bats, which weren’t even very good. Hamilton hit a meager .200/.200/.400.
Garrett Anderson also drove in five. He collected them while hitting a weak .240/.269/.400.
Rey Sanchez Award
Ty Wigginton was a perfect candidate, rapping out seven singles with no extra base hits, and collecting no walks in 22 at-bats for a .318/.318/.318 stinker of a week.
Scott Rolen’s .313/.294/.438 was an interesting line.
Trevor Crowe ended the week at .304/.304/.348
Harmon Killebrew Award
Ryan Zimmerman and Raul Ibanez had similar weeks. Both excelled despite lacking the apparent ability to find a single. Ibanez hit .235/.409/.588 in his 17 a-bats with two of his four hits being home runs. He also walked five times. Zimmerman hit .235/.381/.647 with a single, a double, and two home runs in 17 at-bats. He walked four times.
Steve Balboni Award
Jayson Werth struck out 11 times in 24 at-bats. The predictable results were a .083/.233/.083 line.
Three true outcomes
Garrett Jones has been a three true outcomes hero since arriving from Indianapolis, with 21 home runs, 37 walks and 72 strikeouts in 292 at-bats. He stepped it up this week with a home run, a league-leading eight walks and nine strikeouts in 22-at bats.
Ibanez also had his TTO game in overdrive with two home runs, five walks and five strikeouts in 17 a- bats.
Jack Cust simply did his usual thing and popped two home runs, drew three walks and struck out 10 times in 22 at-bats.
This week’s MVP
AL: Billy Butler has been on fire, hitting .322/.391/.564 since the All-Star break. Last week he outdid that, going .423/.516/.885. His strikeout rate is steady. His walk rate is up. His isolated power is spiking, I may be a homer Royals fan, but I am calling it a breakout.
NL: Joey Votto is on a serious hot streak. He was my pick last week and he repeats that this week by hitting .560 with 10 doubles in 25 at-bats. In the two weeks combined, he has hit .500/.564/.896 and raised his OPS for the season by 59 points.