If you are new to the awards, see Week 1's column to see the award definitions.
This Week's Small Sample Size Warning
Remember what I said last week about a single game completely changing a player's stat line? Mark Buehrle before the no-hitter: 8 1/3 IP, 2 K, 2 BB, 7H, 4 ER, 4.32 ERA. Post no-no: 17.1 IP, 10K, 3 BB, 7 H, 4 ER, 2.08 ERA.
This Week's Proof That Assigning Wins and Losses to a Pitcher is a Silly Practice that Must Stop
Good Luck Division:
Definitely Daisuke Matsuzaka. Anytime you allow 6 runs in 7 innings and still escape with the win, you're getting away with murder.
Eric Bedard 5 starts this season in order:
4 2/3 innings, 5 runs, 9 baserunners, no decision
4 2/3 IP, 6 runs, 12 baserunners, loss
7 IP, 3 runs, 5 baserunners, win
6 IP, 1 run, 9 baserunners, win
5 2/3 IP, 4 runs, 10 baserunners, win
Bad Luck Division:
Ted Lilly held down the Cards on Friday afternoon. He allowed 2 runs in 7 solid innings. The Cards managed less than a baserunner per inning and struck out 6 times. But the Cubs offense failed to record an extra base hit all day against Braden Looper, Ryan Franklin, and Jason Isringhausen. Lilly did his job.
Your leader in the clubhouse
Matt Cain and Chad Gaudin have allowed 10 runs in their 8 combined starts and have 2 wins to show for it.
The Rico Brogna Award
Jermaine Dye drove in 6 runs this week despite the fact that he only hit .200/.259/.400 in 27 at bats. He may have tied for 10th in the Majors in RBI, but his OBP didn't help the team much at all.
Mike Young has been terrible this season. The guy is tied for 16th in all of baseball with 12 RBI, but he's hitting .162/.195/.297. I guess he's been "clutch."
Tampa "leads" all of baseball, having been caught stealing 14 times in their first 18 games. 4 players, Carl Crawford, Ty Wigginton, Delmond Young, and Aki Iwamura combine to go a mere 7 for 18 on the basepaths. There's nothing wrong with trying to steal bases per se. But if you're not very good at it, you should dial it down a notch. Wigginton in particular seems like an odd choice to have run. He's only stolen 25 bases in 543 career games. He's been caught all 3 times he's attempted to steal this season.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
It's time to talk about B.J. Upton. The kid is settling in nicely as an everyday player. This week he hit a modest .235, but of his 4 hits on the week, one of them was a double and one was a homer. He also walked 3 times in 17 at bats and stole a base. Nothing spectacular there, but just about every team in baseball would take their 22 year old second baseman hitting for a .821 OPS.
Season as a whole:
Melvin Mora never struck me as a secondary skills kind of player. He always seemed terribly reliant on batting average for his value. Things are different this year as his 19 hits on the season include 5 doubles, a triple, and four round-trippers. He's also walked 10 times with 12 strikeouts. Again, a .257/.349/.514 line isn't ARod, but it ain't shabby.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I've Got Award
Omar Infante had 14 at bats this week and hit .286/.286/.286/.571. That's no extra base hits. No walks. No value.
Jose Vidro, come on down! No take your time. We'll wait here. Vidro is as slow as the last drop of barbeque sauce in a bottle that wasn't turned upside down in the fridge. He also isn't very good at baseball at this stage in his career. He's hitting .276/.323/.379/.702. The average for all AL hitters is .253/.325/.403/.728. But he's hitting 3rd in the order and DH'ing. He also gets extra bonus points for not only being in an 8 way tie for the ML lead in grounding into double plays with 4, but also having fewer plate appearances than any of the people he is tied with, notably such speedsters as Frank Thomas, David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, and Manny Being Manny. Give Dave Cameron credit. He saw this coming way ahead of time.
The Steve Balboni Award
Another Mariner! Richie Sexson, who didn't hit a single this week. All 3 of his hits went for extra bases (2 doubles and a homer). He also drew 3 walks in 21 at bats. The problem is that he struck out in a third of his at bats and that drug his batting average down. .143/.250/.381 ain't good.
Clubhouse: Jhonny Peralta is hitting .216/.317/.392 with a double, a triple, and 2 home runs in 51 at bats. He has a nice walk rate (7 of `em) and he's hit for some power. His batting average is dragging down what looks to be a decent season. He's struck out 17 times, which is holding that average down a bit.
Jason Smith is in over his head filling in for Troy Glaus. The poor guy hit .133/.235/.133/.369 and struck out 8 times in his 15 at bats this week. Let's move on.
Season: Brandon Inge: 56 AB, 20 K, 6 BB, .125/.206/.304/.501 If he put the ball in play a bit more I think he might be having a decent season. He might not be, but it's pretty hard to be an acceptable ML hitter when you strike out in almost half of your at bats.
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Jim Thome walked 15 times this week, struck out once, and hit 3 home runs. He had more walks than at bats (11). He had more than double the number of walks than the next highest total in baseball (Abreau, Mora, 7 per). There really isn't much to say beyond that.
Leader: Thome's week propelled him way out in front of everybody else. He has 25 walks, 14 strikeouts, and 5 taters in 45 at bats while hitting .333/.563/.711 on the season. But since we've already honored him with the week's award, let's mention Travis Buck of the A's. The rook is having a three true outcomes season that you would only expect from a seasoned vet. People tend to regard these kind of things as being old player skills. Buck has collected 12 walks and 17 strikeouts in only 45 at bats. He owns a very strange .244/.414/.489 line.
This Week's Dumbest Thing Ever
I was going to talk about how having Jeff Weaver pitch on Tuesday while King Felix hadn't pitched in a week. But the kid took that away from me by coming out of Wednesday's game early due to a minor elbow problem that had Mariner fans looking for high rise windows to jump out of. So I'm going off the map and talking about the Minnesota Timberwolves, who made the ridiculous announcement that they weren't going to fire VP/GM Kevin McHale, nor coach Randy Wittman. And they have no plans to trade Kevin Garnett. The Wolves finished 10 games out of the playoffs and decided that the guy who put the team together deserved another year to work his peculiar brand of magic. And they still think they can build around Garnett enough to achieve something next season. This isn't working and it's time to tear it all down, cash in your star player for the best you can get, wish him well, and get on with building something that can aspire to something greater than finishing 5 games out of the playoffs in the west. They passed up opportunities to do this in the recent past. They should fire McHale, get a real GM, and get on with it. Garnett deserves better than this and so do their fans. It's sad to see a rudderless team in ANY sport. It's especially sad when that team is wasting the remaining years of one of the greatest players in the sport's history.
The Seattle Mariners At Bat Count
For the first time this season, the Mariners didn't have a game postponed due to weather. That's a rather odd kind of thing to say about a team that plays their home games in a weather resistant stadium like Safeco. Unfortunately for them, they went 0-6. They have only 473 at bats as a team on the season. That trails 29th place Cleveland by 23. It trails the 28th place White Sox by 81. The leaders, Arizona have played 6 more games than the team from Washington state and have a staggering 206 more at bats as a team. On the positive side, they're actually hitting a bit better than they were previously and have passed the Rangers and Giants in OBP and are in the top 10 in slugging. If the M's don't miss a game in week 4, this may be the last time you see this item.
This Week's MVP's
AL: Thome. This week belonged to him. He hit .455/.741/1.273/2.013. He reached base 20 times in 27 plate appearance.
NL: The week that Bonds had pales only in comparison to Thome. He hit .471/.565/1.118/1.683. It was just like old times. Carlos Beltran had a nice all around week, batting .448 with 4 doubles, a pair of triples, a pair of homers, a couple steals, was not caught stealing on the wee, walked twice, and struck out 4 times in 29 at bats. Fantasy owners sure were happy.
AL: ARod: The batting average will come down. He won't hit 114 home runs as he's projected to do based on his current numbers. He won't slug almost 1000. And he won't drive in almost 300 runs. But this has been a lot of fun. Current line: .371/.432/.986
NL: Jose Reyes is having a ridiculous season of his own. He isn't hitting a home run every day, but he's doing everything short of selling souveniers in the stands between innings. He's playing nice defense, hitting .370/.452/.644 with 4 doubles, 5 triples, 2 home runs, 10 stolen bases, only 2 CS, 11 walks, and 9 K's in 73 at bats. When teams fantasize about power-speed combinations in their young prospects, this is the star they're wishing upon.
This Week's Completely Made-Up Award
I'm giving the Anti-Vulture prize to the Padres bullpen, who've been great all year and were great last year and the year before that. But they really went above and beyond Tuesday, throwing 9 innings of shutout ball in a 14 inning marathon. Greg Maddux gave a very unMaddox-like mediocre performance, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings, failing to strike out a single Cubby Bear in the process. Cla Merideth, Scott Linebrink, Heath Bell, Doug Brocail, and Trevor Hoffman put up the following line: 9 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 0 R. Brocail got the win and Hoffman came in and got the save. I give relievers a lot of grief for getting wins after they screw up. I'll continue to do that because at the very heart of the matter it is absurd to thrust a team statistic on a single player, especially when the circumstances of who gets the win or loss are as unjust as the current system. Individual players aren't responsible for team failure or success. Nevertheless, the Padres bullpen does outstanding work on a consistent basis and they deserve more attention and respect than they get. So I'm giving them an award. Hats off to you, gentlemen.
Here's Where You Come In
I need your help. Please drop me a line nominate players for awards maybe entire team for awards. Make up your own award. Point out something stupid that your local color commentator said during a recent game. I can only watch so much baseball in a week, even with the miracle of MLB.TV. I have to use you as a crutch.