Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for the period of Monday, June 28 through Sunday, July 4. All season stats are through the fourth. 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
Barry Zito and Ubaldo Jimenez were both shelled, combining to allow 13 runs in 11 and a third. Zito was scuffling, but was actually in position to collect the victory when he was lifted. I will have more on this game in a minute.
Zack Greinke was cruising until the eighth inning, when he hit the wall and made what would have been a routine victory into a rather ugly-looking win from a statistical standpoint. He allowed five runs in that frame, one in the other seven innings he worked.
Bad luck division
Joe Saunders and Kyle Davies aren’t the two guys you think of when the phrase “pitcher’s duel” gets brought up, but they had a nice game. Saunders was in line for the victory in the ninth when he walked Billy Butler, then was pulled for Brian Fuentes, who blew the one-run lead. The two starters combined for 15 and two thirds, allowing two runs on 13 hits. Neither received credit or blame.
Another pair of starters with good appearances and nothing to show for it: Brett Cecil and A.J. Burnett, who went 12 and two thirds allowing one run between them. Burnett was victimized by a Joba Chamberlain blown lead.
Josh Johnson and Kris Medlen fit the bill as well. This time Leo Nunez blew the save and took the loss for Johnson, who pitched brilliantly, striking out eight, walking none in six innings with one run allowed. Medlen went six as well, allowing one run.
In the Zito/Ubaldo game I used as the good luck headliner, Zito was victimized by Dan Runzler and by Danny Bautista Runzler allowed an inherited runner to score. Bautista allowed another runner inherited from Zito to cross the plate AND a runner inherited from Runzler to score along with a run of his own. In the process, he blew the save. Manny Corpas then turned around and gave the lead right back to San Francisco and Bautista had a ridiculously undeserved win.
Wes Littleton Award
Frank Herrmann’s first career save was one in which he entered protecting a five-run lead, needing only one out to send everybody to the showers. He retired Jose Molina. I will give Cito Gaston credit for not inserting his closer into the game when he wasn’t necessary.
Please hold the applause
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
Johnny Cueto failed to strike anybody out. He was oh fer 29 in that department. He still tossed eight innings in which he gave up one run on six hits. That is a lot of balls in play with a lot of good luck.
Mark Buehrle struck out zero of the 26 Arlington batters he faced and allowed three runs. All the runs scored on balls that weren’t at the mercy of the defense behind him: They were plated by a pair of home runs he gave up. Only three balls in play found pasture.
Joe Carter Award
At .250/.300/.429, it is hard to say that Scott Hairston had a bad week. But that line isn’t anything he is planning on writing home about. Nevertheless, circumstance provided him with enough opportunities to drive in 10 runs.
Alex Rodriguez went .174/.200/.391 while driving in eight Yankees.
Ryan Zimmerman plated seven while stumbling to a subpar .250/.313/.393 line.
And Jose Guillen drove in five while batting a putrid .174/.240/.304.
Jonathan Herrera qualifies for both the Carter and the Sanchez, driving in seven of the nine runs he has been responsible this season and posting a very empty .310/.313/.345.
John Buck hit a very Sanchezian .316/.316/.316 in his 19 at-bats.
Austin Jackson went .280/.333/.320 in 25 at-bats.
Adam Dunn had an atypical week, going .267/.290/.367.
Harmon Killebrew Award
In part time work, Matt Joyce singled only once all week. Fortunately he smacked a double and a very high leverage grand slam to go with his three walks for a nice little .214/.389/.500 line.
Steve Balboni Award
Eric Hinske fanned nine times in 19 plate appearances, leading to a .059/.143/.059 week.
Three true outcomes
Prince Fielder smacked three homers, walked twice, and struck out 10 times in 30 plate appearances.
Lance Berkman went one-five-nine in 27 PA.
Martin Prado went zero-one-two in 24 PA.
Joe Mauer went zero-two-one in 26 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Torii Hunter had a great week, going .421/.593/.737. Two of his eight hits were home runs. And he posted an eight walks against only one strikeout in 27 PA.
NL: Here is a summary of Rafael Furcal’s week. Nine singles, two doubles, one triple, two home runs, one steal in two attempts, two walks, four strikeouts in 28 PA. .538/.571/.923 is a nice week, especially for a shortstop.