THT Awards

Welcome to the awards.

All stats are for the period of Monday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 8. All season stats are through the eighth. 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

Before he tossed one of the best performances of the year, Brandon Morrow was abused by the Yankees on Monday. Morrow gave up five runs in five and a third. Notable was the fact that he allowed two bombs off Nick Swisher’s bat.

Thanks in large part to Jesse Crain and Ron Mahay, Wade Davis escaped with a no-decision when he was shelled for six runs in six frames. He allowed five doubles and a home run.

James Shields, Dale Thayer and Chad Qualls combined to ensure that Brad Mills would not be punished for his five-run, four-inning beatdown at the hands of the Rays offense.

Bad luck division

Andy Sonnanstine picked a tough game to make his first start of the year. His five and a third, one-run, one-strikeout, three-walk, three-hit performance wasn’t the best bad luck loss this week, but given that Morrow threw his 17-strikeout massacre of the Rays offense, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Sonnastine is a fourth starter on most teams, stable but not noteworthy. He can’t keep up with what Morrow did on his best day. Then again, I probably would have said that Morrow was incapable of keeping up going into the game if a different pitcher had shut down the Jays offense the way he busted up the Rays.

As an aside, how strange is a game where the two teams can match up on consecutive days and play a 17-11 slugfest one night and a one-zero pitcher’s duel the next.

Scott Baker and David Price combined for 15 innings and allowed only one run during the front half of a game that went 13 frames. The two struck out 14, walked three and yielded only eight hits. Baker was in line for the win, but new Twin Matt Capps blew the save in the eighth inning and both starters received no decision.

Matt Garza is a little less sympathetic than most would be when losing having thrown eight innings in which he gave up two runs, neither earned. He pitched well, but one of the two runs, and the one that made it a 2-1 game, which is how it ended, was made possible by his own throwing error. It was partially his own fault, but I will throw him up for your consideration here because at some point you would expect the Rays lineup to score more than one run. I also bring it up because I have long advocated counting runs scored on pitcher errors as being earned since it was the pitcher’s fault.

Cole Hamels ended up on the losing side of a Johan Santana masterpiece. As Santana and Francisco Rodriguez spun a shutout of the Phillies, Hamels worked seven innings, striking out 11, allowing only a Jeff Francoeur solo home run in the scoring column.

John Danks and Brad Bergesen combined to throw 14 innings with two runs allowed between them, 10 strikeouts and 11 hits. Matching up against each other was a handicap: They each walked away empty-handed.

Barry Zito and Tommy Hanson posted 69 and 68 game scores and neither got the win.

Jon Niese allowed one run on four hits in seven innings and Bobby Parnell blew the save by getting shelled for four runs without recording an out.

Mental Health and the CBA
A particular bit of language in the latest CBA could have negative consequences for some players.

Wandy Rodriguez was another victim of bad bullpen disease when Matt Lindstrom blew his fifth save of the season.

Vulture Award

Jason Berken blew the save against the Halos before watching the Orioles offense rally and hand him a cheap win. Chris Perez also got the win/blown save combo as he ruined Jeanmar Gomez’s third career start. Aaron Heilman gave up two home runs and blew the save, taking Clayton Richard off the hook when Richard had allowed five runs in three and a third. Heilman got the win when Luke Gregerson allowed a run before recording an out.

When Sean Gallagher entered the game in the 10th inning, it was tied. He promptly gave up a single and a two-run Todd Helton home run. He was soon bailed out when Pedro Alvarez hit his three-run walk off home run off Huston Street.

Wes Littleton Award

With a four-run lead with two on and one out in the ninth, Jonathan Papelbon struck out Andy Marte and Trevor Crowe for the save.

You could say that Trevor Hoffman got the save when he faced the one, two, three batters and walk away somewhat impressed. If I then add that it was the Astros and the one, two, three hitters were Jason Bourgeois, Angel Sanchez and Hunter Pence, and he was protecting a three-run lead, you would be considerably less impressed.

Please hold the applause

Francisco Cordero was in trouble, having walked Blake DeWitt, Mike Fontenot and Kosuke Fukudome to load the bases. Then he hit Starlin Castro with a pitch to bring in a run. Nick Massett struck out two and walked one (scoring another run charged to Cordero) to bring the game to a close. Cordero got the hold in a game he very nearly blew.

Any sufficiently advanced defense is indistinguishable from pitching

Kevin Correia failed to strike out any Dodgers batter in five and two thirds scoreless innings. Zero out of 24 and he got the win and a pretty ERA out of the deal.

In a reversal, Roy Halladay struck out a third of the 30 Mets he faced, walking one. But he had terrible luck on balls in play and he was charged with five runs on nine hits. Don’t weep for him though. He got the win.

Neither here nor there

I don’t care about Alex Rodriguez’s 600th home run. That isn’t a particularly unique statement to be putting out there, but the reasons surrounding the sentiment are ones I haven’t seen much of since we started talking about this particular milestone. And it is one that predates this event.

The reason I don’t care is not because of steroids, although I don’t condone that kind of thing. The reason is because raw counting stats aren’t really very useful when they are removed from the context in which they are generated. I don’t really care about the fact that Barry Bonds has the home run titles for both an individual season and for a career for the same reason.

I find it interesting that we as a people care about home run records being “devalued” by an era that makes previously held milestones and records obsolete but we don’t care about the fact that other records, such as virtually every pitching record in the book, were set in an era in which the numbers that people put up are currently unimaginable. It is funny that we are offended by the fact that it would have been impossible for Willie Mays to hit 70 home runs in a season yet we accept that it is impossible to bat .440 or break Cy Young’s all time wins record unless something very remarkable happens to the sport. All counting stats have contextual backgrounds that need to be factored in for them to mean much of anything, whether you are a pitcher in the 1960s or 1900s or a hitter in the 1930s or 1990s.

So no asterisks are needed, just a more general understanding of what went on at any particular time in our history.

Joe Carter Award

Michael Young drove in five runs in 25 at-bats. He did most of his damage on Wednesday, with a grand slam off Garrett Olson. Outside of that game, he did practically nothing, going one for 19 with one walk and no extra base hits. Counting Wednesday, he still posted a meager .120/.148/.240 line.

Sanchez Award

Jose Lopez went .316/.316/.316 in 19 plate appearances. Broken down, that is six hits, all singles, and no walks, no hit by pitch.

Alberto Callaspo will have weeks like this given how much of his value is locked up in batting average. .286/.318/.333

Harmon Killebrew Award

Lyle Overbay had a nice week despite collecting only four hits in 17 at-bats. Three of the four went for extra bases and he walked three times against only one strikeout for a .235/.350/.529 line.

Steve Balboni Award

In his first full week as a member of the Braves, Rick Ankiel struck out 11 times in 25 at-bats, leading to a fairly ugly .200/.259/.280 line.

Marlins teammates Wes Helms and Ronny Paulino saw part time action this week and both reminded us why they are part time players, striking out seven times each in 19 and 18 at-bats respectively for .053/.143/.053 and .167/.211/.278 weeks.

Three true outcomes

Adam Dunn had a very Adam Dunn week, launching five home runs, walking twice and striking out nice times in 30 plate appearances.

The anti-TTO

I mentioned Callaspo before. I’ve always seen Callaspo as a kind of a younger Placido Polanco. I still like that comp and not just because of a one-week sample. Nevertheless, Polanco produced no home runs, walked once and went the entire week without striking out in 27 PA while Callaspo went zero-one-one in 22 PA

Like Callaspo, Chone Figgins went zero-one-one, though he did it in 24 PA.

This week’s MVP

AL: Joe Mauer didn’t hit for power this week. He hasn’t hit for much power all year with a .151 ISO and only six home runs. But he is still a good defensive catcher who is hitting for average and getting on base. This week he hit .455/.567/.545 with seven walks against just three strikeouts.

NL: It is nice to have Troy Tulowitzki back, especially as he hit .500/.519/.708 in 26 PA.

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Jason B
Jason B

You touched on both of the games, but man what a weekend for the Jays.  A 17-run, 8-HR outing featuring on of the two or three best debut performances in ML history, followed by a 17-K one-hitter.

When you top out at 3rd in the division for seventeen straight years, you have to take pleasure in moments like these.  =)


Hey hey hey, Jason, they hit 2nd in 2006.

I’d be remiss not to mention Albert Pujols’ quite…Pujolsian week of .522/.542/.870. Or even Tulowitzki’s teamate – Carlos Gonzalez, who put up an incredible 1.000 SLG for the week. I acknowledge that Tulo was probably your MVP choice mostly because you could find something to say about him other than ‘huh, good week’.  Welcome back, indeed. Also, a rather strange Anti-TTO option this week.  Felix Pie put up a 0 Walk 0 K and 1 HR showing, in 28 plate appearances. None of these players are glaring omissions, or anything.  Merely things I noticed when poking stuff with a stick… Read more »
John M Barten
John M Barten
Vox: I gave the award to Tulo, but Pujols was definitely the guy that I was looking at as the other possibility. I went with the up the middle guy at the cost of some slugging. Six of one, half dozen of the other as far as I was concerned. I’m not sure how I missed Pie. And thanks for the compliment. Jason: Indeed. This has been a remarkable season for the Jays, who I was really down on going into the year. Hats off to them. The pitching has been better than I expected and I did not see… Read more »