Welcome to the awards.
All stats are for the period of Monday, Aug. 30 through Sunday, Sept. 5. All season stats are through the fifth. 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
Sean O’Sullivan was in line for the win after throwing five innings in which he was charged with six runs, striking out nobody. Cliff Lee and the Rangers’ run prevention unit was worse, Lee having been torched for seven runs in four and two thirds. But Jesse Chavez made that all moot as far as the official scorer was concerned, blowing the save.
In the game made infamous by Nyjer Morgan’s crazy charging of the mound, Chris Volstad was charged with six runs in five frames. But because Scott Olsen was torched for nine runs in less than two innings, Volstad could just wait out five and still manage to walk away with a win.
Bad luck division
Jordan Zimmerman and Anibal Sanchez combined to throw 13 scoreless innings, striking out 16, walking one, yielding four hits. They posted game scores of 77 and 79. They dueled too well and neither of them received the win.
Dan Haren and Felix Hernandez each threw seven scoreless innings, striking out eight. They matched each other perfectly. Brandon League ended up vulturing the win after he allowed the Halos to go ahead by a run. Kevin Jepsen was the villain here, blowing the save. Neither of the starters would have received any acknowledgment regardless of what the relievers did though. Their day was done when the outcome was determined.
Mat Latos struck out 10 batters in Phoenix. The only blemish on his record was the Chris Young solo home run he allowed in the sixth. Luke Gregerson robbed Latos of the win by allowing four runs without recording an out.
Francisco Liriano and Max Scherzer combined to throw 16 innings, allowing one run between the two of them, striking out a batter per inning, and walking two. Liriano was in line for the victory, but the Twins bullpen failed him.
Fausto Carmona threw eight innings, allowing one run on four hits, striking out six, walking five. Luke French, Brandon League and David Aardsma held the Cleveland offense scoreless and Carmona got the L.
Wes Littleton Award
It seems like I beat up on the Mariners every week in this category. I don’t feel bad about that. Fernando Rodney was the most recent closer to get a three-run save against the guys from Seattle. He walked the leadoff batter, then caught a lucky break when Franklin Gutierrez got caught between second and third on a double. Casey Kotchman ended up scoring on Rodney’s wild pitch later in the inning. But that only goes to illustrate how bad Rodney would have had to have been to lose the game for the Angels. He was a grease fire and he still got out of it with two runs to spare.
Please hold the applause
Phil Coke got the hold and the loss thanks to Ryan Perry, who allowed two runners inherited from Coke to score. Amusingly for everybody not in the Coke family or a Tigers fan, Coke loaded the bases by walking one and plunking two Minnesota batter.
Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching
In the contra-ASADIIFP example, Jon Lester struck out more than a third of the Orioles he faced and still was touched up for five runs on eight hits in six innings. He got the win, which qualifies him for the lucky category, but I would rather put him here.
Joe Carter Award
Among the 14 batters who drove in six runs this week were Matt Holliday, who slugged .737. Then there was Andrew McCutchen, who hit .320/.419/.520. Ryan Howard smacked three home runs. Shin-Soo Choo did what he’s done all year, hitting .333 with four walks, three doubles and a home run. Troy Tulowitzki slugged .714 and fellow NL All-Star caliber shortstop Hanley Ramirez hit .444 with four extra base hits, three steals and seven walks. And Buster Posey hit .316/.409/.526.
One batter I left out was Carlos Lee, who joined these players in driving in six while hitting a putrid .190/.217/.381. This is a recurring theme for Lee, who is demonstrating that you can hit poorly and even with a bad lineup around you, if you’re placed in the heart of the lineup every single day, you will drive in runs. He is at 82 RBI on the year and is hitting an awful .247/.290/.419.
Miguel Olivo’s skill set dictates that when he isn’t hitting home runs, he probably isn’t doing anything useful. He doesn’t walk and he isn’t going to hit for the kind of average that will make up for his hacking style. This week he managed to hit .300, but without much of anything else to recommend, going .300/.300/.350. For all of the good his .273/.321/.454 line has done for the Rockies, the fact that he has struck out 100 times in 337 at bats this year tells me that the .273 line is temporary and his BA and OBP will slump back toward career norms next year.
Casey Kotchman is a different kind of hitter than Olivo, though you wouldn’t know that by looking at their weeks. Kotchman went .280/.333/.320.
And Freddy Sanchez makes another appearance in his own category with a classic .278/.316/.333 line.
Harmon Killebrew Award
Bobby Abreu had 21 plate appearances this week. In those trips to the plate, he reached base safely by way of a hit only three times. However, two of those three hits were home runs. He also added five walks and a steal for a productive .188/.381/.563 week.
Steve Balboni Award
Andres Torres struck out in half of his 20 plate appearances this week, ending up at .050/.050/.200. That is a really rough week.
Three true outcomes
Abreu is a logical candidate here for the same reasons that make him a Killebrew honoree. His two home runs, five walks and six strikeouts in 21 PA definitely make him noteworthy.
Also in the picture is Russell Branyan, who went three-four-10 in 27 PA.
Daric Barton went one-nine-five in 28 PA.
And in part time duty, Jim Thome went two-two-two in 10 PA.
Starlin Castro went zero-zero-two in 26 PA.
This week’s MVP
AL: Mark Teixeira had a memorable week that was too little, too late for my fantasy team, posting three doubles, two homers, seven walks and an outstanding .476/.633/.905 line.
NL: I mentioned Hanley Ramirez above when I compared his work to that of El Caballo. Ramirez’s week was an all around solid piece of work. He hit .444/.600/.889 with three steals in four attempts.