Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for the period of Monday, June 14, through Sunday, June 20. All season stats are through the 20th. For award definitions, see this year’s primer.
This week’s proof that assigning wins and losses to a pitcher is an archaic practice that must stop
Good luck division
Hiram Davies got lit up by a Houston lineup that started with five players sporting a sub-.300 OBP. This was in a game where they had the DH. And he allowed six runs in three innings. Felipe Paulino took the loss because Billy Butler, Mitch Maier and Mike Aviles went crazy on him, powering the barbecue crew to 15 runs and more than making up for Davies’ inept performance.
Kenshin Kawakami and Davies (again) combined to get lit up for nine runs in 6.1 innings. Kawakami was on the hook for the loss until Kyle Farnsworth demonstrated what Kyle Farnsworth is good at and blew the save.
Season: When you flip through the AL leaders in wins, you will find Freddy Garcia, who has gone 7-1 with one no decision in his nine quality starts.
Phil Hughes has been great this season, but it bears mentioning that he has two disaster starts this season, both being five-run stinkers. In those two starts, he has a win and a no decision. He hasn’t lost or had a no decision in any of the eight quality starts he has given the Yankees. He leads the majors in run support.
Bad luck division
Season: With a 3.94 ERA on the season and a 5.33 ERA in four June starts, Zack Greinke hasn’t lived up to his 2009 standards, but it still is nothing that should get you a 2-8 record. He is 0-2 with four no decisions in games where he has allowed two or fewer runs.
Jaime Garcia has 11 quality starts in 13 tries and only has six wins to show for it against three losses. Teammates Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter have 10-4 and 8-1 records with 13 and 11 quality starts for comparison’s sake. Sure it’s odd to see him among the league leaders in ERA and WAR, but as well as he’s doing, his lineup isn’t giving much help. He had three no decisions where he didn’t allow a run and he has allowed a total of seven runs in his three losses. In those six games where he has failed to get the win, the St Louis offense has scored a total of six runs.
Matt Cain is fourth in the majors with a 2.16 ERA and stands at 6-5 as I type this sentence. He has a loss or a no decision in five of his 12 quality starts.
With a 4.78 ERA in 14 starts, Kenshin Kawakami hasn’t been a particularly great starter, but he hasn’t been anywhere near 0-9 level of bad. He’s lost three games where he has given the Braves six or more innings and three or fewer runs allowed. He also adds three more no decisions to that tally.
Jon Rauch blew the save and got the win courtesy of Danys Baez, whom I hadn’t heard from recently. He got the win but if you’re looking for a pitching hero for the Twins, look for Jeff Manship, who filled in for 4.1 innings after Kevin Slowey got bombed out and only allowed a single run on a Raul Ibanez homer.
Season: Last time I did this exercise, I highlighted Tyler Clippard, who had four wins in games where he also blew the save, including three in a week. He hasn’t added to that total in the time since, but it is still hard to top. And he still leads all relievers in wins with eight.
Wes Littleton Award
Please hold the applause
Michael Wuertz induced a ground ball for out one, then gave up two singles, walked a batter and was pulled. Andrew Bailey came in and promptly gave up a sac fly with the resulting run charged to Wuertz before ending the inning and getting pulled for Jerry Blevins. So we had two pitchers who weren’t effective and both got credit for a hold.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Season: Doug Fister has struck out 32 batters in 69.2 innings and has a 2.45 ERA and a .223 batting average against. Do the math on that one and you’ll find that he is preposterously lucky on balls in play.
On the other side of the coin, Dan Haren has struck out almost a man per inning but carries a 4.71 ERA thanks to his .323 BABIP.
Joe Carter Award
My fantasy team thanks Ryan Ludwick for his six RBIs this week, but Cardinals fans probably wish his overall line had been better than .182/.200/.409.
You can also forgive David Wright, another six-RBI guy, for his .259/.286/.333 week given that he has been spectacular this season.
One of my favorite players, Alberto Callaspo managed to collect one extra-base hit and no walks in 26 at bats for a .308/.308/.346 week.
Drew Stubbs went .294/.333/.294.
Ben Zobrist had an odd .292/.333/.333 week.
Corey Patterson did what you expect Corey Patterson to do, flailing his way to a .286/.318/.286 line.
David Freese had a similar story at .286/.318/.333.
And let’s make room here for Marco Scutaro, another of my personal favorites* going .286/.304/.333 this week.
*I have rooted for him ever since he was an Indianapolis Indian.
Harmon Killebrew Award
What Raul Ibanez lacked in singles this week, he made up for in walks and extra bases. Ibanez walked five times in 24 plate appearances. He also smacked a pair of doubles and a home run. He even stole a base. .211/.375/.474 is something that Philly fans will gladly accept given the slump their offense has been in and how much Ibanez has been a contributing factor in that mediocrity.
Prince Fielder had a .190/.393/.429 week with six walks being the key factor.
Steve Balboni Award
Mark Reynolds walks a bit of a tightrope with his strikeout rate. This week he demonstrated the downside to that, whiffing in 13 of his 18 plate appearances and ending up with a .118/.211/.294 week as a result.
Super rookie Mike Stanton is going to strike out a lot this season and might struggle to hit for average given that he struck out in 22 percent of his plate appearances against Southern League pitchers this season. So it shouldn’t really come as a huge shock that he whiffed 12 times in 25 PA on his way to a .125/.160/.250.
Tommy Manzella is in way over his head. He has a career .268/.321/.374 line in the minors. He is hitting .215/.262/.258 this season. It may be an example of piling on, but with eight strikeouts in 19 PA this week, his .158/.158/.158 is a nice illustration of why the Astros are where they are and his continued presence is a good indication of why they will get worse before they get better. They lack better alternatives.
Three true outcomes
David Ortiz was the Big Papi of old, hitting for prodigious power and drawing walks. He accumulated three bombs, eight walks, and three strikeouts in 25 plate appearances.
Dan Uggla is missing a category, but zero-eight-nine in 26 PA is pretty impressive.
And for somebody who has never been known for drawing a lot of walks, Carl Crawford’s one-seven-two in 29 PA is worth noting.
David Eckstein went zero-one-zero in 29 PA.
A.J. Pierzynski posted a perfect zero-zero-zero, but only in 15 PA.
The biggest reason why Callaspo gave the Royals such an empty batting average this week was his zero-zero-one TTO tally in 26 PA.
Matt Kemp has attempted 20 steals this season. He has been successful in only half of them.
Jason Kendall is a catcher who turns 36 this coming Saturday and inexplicably he has attempted to steal 12 bases and predictably has been caught seven times.
Nyjer Morgan is fast. Nyger Morgan is unintentional comedy. Nyjer Morgan is getting on base at a .310 clip. And Nyjer Morgan is 15-for-25 on the basepaths. Nyjer Morgan should pick his spots more wisely.
This week’s MVP
AL: It is nice to see Josh Hamilton back in the swing of things after a down 2009. This week he was filling stat columns with 13 singles, a double, a triple, a home run, two steals, a walk, and three strikeouts in a .593/.607/.815 week.
NL: Matt Holliday did most of his .435/.480/1.000 damage when he slugged four homers. The five singles he provided helped along the way.
As a runner-up mention, I liked what Andrew McCutchen did in his 26 plate appearances, smacking seven singles, walking seven times, and stealing four bases in five tries during a .421/.577/.526 week, which will make western Pennsylvania happy.