Wow. Week 17 already? This season is flying by.
If you are new to the awards, see Week 1's column to see the award definitions.
This Week's Proof That Assigning Wins and Losses to a Pitcher is a Silly Practice that Must Stop
Good Luck Division
On Friday, Jered Weaver got lucky, getting knocked around by the Tigers for 6 runs in 5 and a third innings. He gave up 11 hits but still got the golden W. The Halos offense picked him up, scoring 8 runs on Detroit starter Nate Robertson.
Bad Luck Division
Josh Beckett is this week's tough luck loser as on Wednesday he threw an 8 inning complete game, allowing only 4 baserunners and he still got the loss as Franklin Gutierrez's solo homer provided the only run in the entire game.
On the same night that Beckett got screwed over by an anemic performance by his offense, there were 3 relievers who blew leads and still collected wins.
Francisco Rodriguez gave up 3 runs to give the A's new life in what was a Halos victory. Joe Kennedy ruined it for the East Bay fans.
Chad Qualls gave up a Jeff Kent dinger to tie the ballgame. Dodgers reliever D.J. Houlton gave Qualls an underserved vulture win though with Carlos Lee providing the muscle.
Finally, Joaquin Benoit was the beneficiary of a unique circumstance this season. J.J. Putz blew his first save of the season, which bailed Benoit out when Benoit had allowed a pair of runs to tie the game. Putz wooooooo
More Reliever Weirdness
It happened earlier this season and I'm too lazy to look up when it was and what I said about it, but here we are again. Another pitcher got a hold and a loss in the same game. That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. This time it was Joe Table on Thursday.
The Rico Brogna Award
Gary Matthews Jr collected 7 RBI, but hit a meager .174/.259/.304
Season to Date: Sammy Sosa has 70 RBI's on the season and is on pace to get about 115. The problem is that despite that particular stat, he's not helping his moribund team very much, hitting .242/.302/.456. He just can't hit right handed pitchers anymore, with a .215/.258/.411 against them. He's hitting a robust .321/.423/.593 against lefties. Primarily because of him, Ranger cleanup hitters are limping to a .249/.322/.424 line.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
Derek Lee hit .238 on the week, but 3 of his 5 hits went over the fence and he drew 4 walks for a 1.037 OPS.
Season: It's probably a controversial notion in Philly, but I think Pat Burrell's been a lot better than people give him credit for this season. His batting average isn't anything to look at (.255), but his secondary skills pick him up as he has 74 walks in 274 at bats for a .416 OBP to go with his .456 SLG.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I've Got Award
Bill Hall's .292/.346/.375 week gets this award.
Season: Nomar is the anti-Burrell. Batting average with no secondary skills. .285/.330/.360 isn't getting the job done. He has 4 homers and 26 walks in 358 at bats. Ick.
The Steve Balboni Award
Raul Ibanez had a very good secondary skills week, with 4 doubles and 4 walks. He also struck out 10 times on his way to a .222/.323/.370 line.
Leader: Jason Bay's numbers have eroded across the board this season. The decline in his walk rate and isolated slugging makes him more vulnerable to batting average fluctuations, especially since he's striking out in a quarter of his at bats. .253/.328/.433 isn't bad, but it's not indicative of the "Most Underrated Player in Baseball", which seems to have been his nickname since the dawn of time.
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Nick Swisher slugged 3 home runs, walked 7 times, and struck out 5 times for 15 TTO events in 34 plate appearances.
Leader: Ryan Howard has passed Adam Dunn as the master of the TTO's. In 388 plate appearances he has 29 bombs, 69 walks, and 115 K's. That's 55% of his PA's.
This Week's Dumbest Thing Ever
I'm unclear as to exactly what the Cubs expected when they traded for Jason Kendall, but he certainly is who we thought he was. They've downgraded from Michael Barrett to Rob Bowen and then from Bowen to Jason Kendall's putrid corpse. He can't hit anymore. He can't field. The idea that they would give up anything for him is bizarre.
What makes this the dumbest thing ever is the fact that Geovany Soto is hitting .335/.408/.608 in Iowa right now wondering what he did to deserve this fate. I don't know how much of that would translate to Wrigley, but I'm pretty certain that it would be a fair sight better than the composite .226/.265/.280 Kendall has hit between Oakland and Chicago. It would also likely far outpace the .163/.233/.288 backup Koyie Hill is hitting. And it's not like Soto is some clueless dolt behind the plate, ready to cost the Cubbies a critical game with his defense. In fact he's probably better at that phase of the game than Kendall.
This Week's MVP
AL: .462/.545/.962. It was just Manny being Manny.
Season: Yawn. Still ARod.
NL: With 4 doubles, 3 home runs, 6 walks, and a .393/.500/.786 week, it's nice to see Chris B. Young out there reminding everybody why he was such a widely anticipated rookie.
Season: This is likely to be the last week that Chase Utley holds the crown. His hand injury is a killer for the Phillies, but it also robs us of a guy who was having a really remarkable season. He already has 41 doubles on the season. That's pretty extraordinary in itself. His line heading into this involuntary hiatus is .336/.414/.581.
Least Valuable Player
AL: Craig Monroe was pathetic this week at .167/.192/.167. That's 4 singles and walk in 24 at bats. Ugh.
Season: There are a number of guys with uglier raw numbers than Aubrey Huff, but they all play up the middle positions. Huff has 150 at bats this season as a first baseman and 181 as a DH. He's hitting .248/.292/.371. That's a killer.
NL: Juan Pierre wasn't much better than Monroe with a .136/.208/.136 week of his own.
Season: Exactly why do the Pirates think anybody else actually wants Jack Wilson? The guy may have a slick glove, but he's also hitting .249/.301/.340.
This Week's Completely Made-Up Award
In lieu of a made-up award this week, here is my analysis of the big Teixeira/Saltalamacchia deal.
I don't hate this deal for the Braves. I think they overpaid a bit, but this is a big help. It's probably true that Salty could provide 85% of the production that you'll get from Teixeira over the next year and a half, but that other 15% is a pretty big deal when you have a chance to chase down the limping Mets and the thin Phillies. The Braves are within 4 and a half games of the playoffs as I write this at 12:30AM Tuesday morning. They're pushing their chips to the middle of the table and that's something I applaud today.
One thing this reinforces is the fact that Jon Schuerholz has guts. Along with Bobby Cox, they had the guts to use Matt Diaz and Willie Harris as their left field platoon. They had the guts to sell high on Adam LaRoche and go with Scott Thorman at first base, then the guts to cut their losses on Thorman and take Salty from AA and make him their starting first baseman, and then the guts to use organizational resources to upgrade on that when it could mean the difference between sitting at home again in October and playing for something meaningful.
On the Rangers side, this is the first big win for Jon Daniels. I like this trade for the boys from Arlington even if they plug NaCL in as a direct replacement for Tex. If they use him as a catcher and take up the opportunity to upgrade on Gerald Laird and use Laird as bait in the quest to plug other holes, then I absolutely love the deal. I really see no valid reason why Saltalamacchia can't be more than adequate at catcher for a team that uses Michael Young and Ian Kinsler up the middle. In my mind, making him a permanent first baseman would be a tragic misuse of organizational resources.
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.