Welcome to the only corner of the American sports landscape where you won't hear about a certain guy who used to wear shoulder pads on Sunday and just admitted to doing something very, very bad. That's right, no coverage of that one guy, what's his name? Something like Hans Laos, or Jim Nigeria, maybe it was Eddie Chile. Whatever his name is, we here at the weekly awards love dogs, except for that one that lives one block west and one block north of the Weekly Awards headquarters, the one we've nicknamed Snarls Barkley. We just wish he'd shut up. But all of the other dogs are cool. Good doggy. That's right, goooood doggy.
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
Bad Luck Division
On Thursday, Jake Westbrook and Nate Robinson combined for 16 2/3 innings of shutout ball, allowing only 9 hits and 2 walks in that time. They got matching no decisions and the win went to Rafael Perez, who threw a grand total of 6 pitches.
If you're looking for an actual loss, the go to Westbrook's teammate Fausto Carmona, who took the L on Tuesday despite giving the Indians a complete game, allowing only 2 runs on 3 hits and no walks. A pair of solo home runs were hit undoing and rookie Jair Jurrjens got the win.
Good Luck Division
On Friday, Andrew Miller and Roger Clemens both got bombed, Miller allowing 6 runs in 4 and a third and Clemens getting shelled for 6 runs in 5 frames. Both escaped with no decisions, spared the indignity of being the pitcher who killed their team in a very important game.
Special Recognition for Good Luck
I hadn't planned on recognizing season pitching awards this week, as I usually leave those for every few weeks. But I got an email from an anonymous reader pointing me to Claudio Vargas, who has a ridiculous 10-4 record despite a 1.56 WHIP and 5.13 ERA. But do you know what? I think it goes beyond this year. Digging into the numbers, he hasn't had a sub-.500 season he was a rookie in 2003, and even then it was a comparatively tame 6-8. He has a career 42-36 record in 657 innings. This despite a career whip of 1.46 and an ERA of 4.96. Batters this season are hitting a combined .287/.352/.482 against him. Career, it's .273/.343/.483. For context, the average NL hitter is batting .264/.332/.418. Yet here he is, standing among baseball's leaders in win percentage.
In Thursday night's Padres/Mets matchup, Billy Wagner entered the game with his Mets up 7-6. He gave up 2 runs, handing Trevor Hoffman a 8-7 9th inning lead. HE coughs up a run, making it a tie ballgame. Aaron Heilman then gives Hoffman a helping hand by hanging one to Adrian Gonzalez. Heath Bell finally ends the madness by throwing a scoreless bottom 10th and Hoffman walks away with the golden W.
The Rico Brogna Award
Marlon Byrd drove in 7 runs in 21 at bats, but only managed to hit .190/.286/.333.
Season to Date: Andruw Jones has made a hash of the season, hitting .223/.315/.429, but he gets a big pat on the back for being tied for 26th in the Majors with 83 RBI. He's a "PROVEN RUN PRODUCER", whatever that means.
The Harmon Killebrew Batting Average is for Wussies Award
Nate McLouth had a nice week despite hitting .258. 2 doubles, 3 home runs, and 5 walks in 31 at bats will do that for you. His .974 OPS is pretty nice.
I hadn't noticed, but McLouth is up to a very respectable .251/.331/.455 this season. I had seen him play here in Indy and had viewed him as strictly a kind of 4th outfielder virtuoso in the making. I'll also mention that I may be alone here, but I've always thought that the name Nate McLouth just sounds like the name of a player from 1924.
Season as a whole: Ryan Howard's .264/.386/.564 gets it done. He may not hit many singles, but he has 20 doubles, 34 bombs, and 81 walks. Nifty.
The Rey Sanchez Batting Average is all I've Got Award
We have a tie for the top spot with two very similar performances. Nook Logan hit .308/.308/.346 and Jose Lopez .308/.308/.385. That's 52 AB, 3 doubles, no homers or walks.
Season: Delmon Young has a .288 BA, but he's not hitting for power or drawing walks. .317/.403 OBP/SLG is anemic, even for a player as young as he is. In 511 at bats, he's hit only 9 home runs and drawn only 22 walks.
The Steve Balboni Award
There are two really good candidates here too. Rookie Josh Fields popped 2 homers, a double, and drew a pair of walks. But his 11 K's pulled him down to a .179/.233/.429 line. Meanwhile, Brad Hawpe likewise tallied a double, a couple bombs, and a pair of walks while striking out 10 times for a .167/.231/.458 week.
Leader: Brandon Inge: 408 AB, 130 K, .246/.319/.380
3 True Outcomes Alert!!!
Carlos Pena had a very solid TTO week, with 3 HR, 8 BB, 4 K in 20 AB.
Leader: Ryan Howard is tied for 7th in the Majors in walks with 81, leads in K's with 152, and is 4th in HR with 36.
This Week's Completely Made Up Award
I was talking with my friend Dan Wesley and a couple other people about various hitters and we went about comparing the virtues and weaknesses of a pair of Devil Rays. When looking at the careers of Jonny Gomes and Carlos Pena, it's very strange to see just how similar they are statistically. Gomes has had about half the ML career that Pena has had, due in no small part to his being two and a half years Pena's junior. The two of them get the "Separated At Birth" Award.
2383 career PA
102 2B: 3.6% of PA
114 HR: 4.78%
279 BB: 11.71%
608 K: 25.51%
Career line: .248/.341/.478
1183 career PA
48 2B: 4.06%
55 HR: 4.65%
121 BB: 10.23%
322 K: 27.22%
Career Line: .246/.338/.473
Pena gets some bonus points for playing his home games in Comerica Park for most of his career. He also gets bonus points for being a Gold Glove darkhorse. Gomes theoretically has more career ahead of him, though he might get hurt in the future by his questionable glove and that's part of the famed "Old Player Skills" that portends sudden performance drop-offs and early ending careers. It'll be interesting to watch their lines going forward.
This Week's Dumbest Thing Ever
A save in a 30-3 game? When the pitcher in question entered the game with an 11 run lead? The situation was actually presented to me by Lone Star Ball founder and proprietor, and friend of BTB and the Awards Adam Morris. And indeed, it's worthy, perhaps overqualified.
In the original concept for this weekly column, I intended to hand out an award based on cheap saves and the silliness that tends to follow that particular stat around. For one reason or another, I really never got around to it. Two things happened this week to prompt me to mention it. First, the Littleton save, which points a spotlight at the dumbest provision in a dumb set of rules for a dumb stat. The second is that Dave Pinto laid out a new set of procedures for the save, or if you prefer a stat that better accomplishes what the save was originally set out to measure.
This Week's MVP
AL: David Ortiz hit .478/.600/1.043 with 2 doubles, a triple, 3 homers, 7 walks, and only 1 K.
NL: Having Mark Teixeira in the NL is going to take some getting used to for me. He's done well there though, going .414/.514/.793 this week for the politically incorrect team from Georgia.
Season: Hanley Ramirez is still hitting .332/.389/.561, but David Wright is gaining on him, as the Mets third baseman is up to .319/.413/.535 himself. He's even stolen 28 bases this year with an 87.5 percent success rate. He drew 10 walks this week. But even being the best player on a playoff contender isn't likely to be enough as he's trailing in RBI, which BBWAA voters love, and for all of his popularity, the national media has seemed to have been hyping Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard more than Wright.
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.