Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending June 12th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Davis batted .368 (7-for-19) with five runs scored, five home runs, a double and 10 RBI over six games to claim his fourth career AL Player of the Week Award, last winning with the Orioles on June 2, 2013. Chris paced the Majors in home runs, slugging percentage (1.211) and total bases (23), while finishing the period tied for first in extra-base hits (6) and tied for third in RBI.
In Thursday’s series-opening game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre, Davis went 2-for-3 with three RBI, including the game-tying home run in the seventh inning. Additionally, the Texas native delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly in the ninth to secure an O’s victory. On Sunday against the Blue Jays, the 30-year-old veteran delivered his fifth homer in as many games to go along with a pair of RBI. The two-run blast in the fifth inning extended his homer streak to five games, marking the second time in his career that he has gone deep in five consecutive games. The 2013 AL All-Star, who also accomplished the feat as part of a six-game homer streak during the 2012 season (September 26th-October 2nd), joins Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson as the only players in club history to homer in six straight games (July 18-23, 1976). Since the beginning of the 2012 season, the left-handed-swinging slugger leads all of Major League Baseball with 175 round-trippers. Entering play today, Baltimore’s powerful offense leads the Majors in home runs (99), with Mark Trumbo (20), Davis (16) and Manny Machado (16) all ranking within the top five in the AL. Led in large part by their robust offense, the Orioles are currently tied with the Boston Red Sox atop the AL East with a 36-26 record.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Chris’ aforementioned teammate Machado (8 R, 9 H, 4 2B, 6 XBH); Xander Bogaerts (.500, 5 R, 12 H, 11 RBI) of the Red Sox; Michael Saunders (.500, 6 XBH, 22 TB, 1.000 SLG) of the Blue Jays; Carlos Beltran (.346, 6 R, 3 HR, 11 RBI) of the New York Yankees; and Michael Fulmer (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 12.0 IP, 8 SO) and Ian Kinsler (.320, 6 R, 2 HR, 10 RBI) of the Detroit Tigers.
In the National League, starting pitcher Jon Lester of the Chicago Cubs has been named the player of the week for the period ending June 12th.
Lester was tied for the Major League lead in wins last week, going 2-0 over two starts, without yielding an earned run over 15.0 innings pitched. Among qualified NL hurlers, Jon paced the Senior Circuit in innings pitched, and tied for first in ERA and strikeouts (16). The veteran left-hander permitted just nine hits and did not surrender a walk during his award-winning week. This is his third career weekly award, last winning as a member of the Oakland Athletics on September 14, 2014.
On Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, the Washington native tossed 8.0 shutout innings, while walking none and striking out nine en route to his seventh win of the season. After striking out 10 and not allowing a walk in his previous start (a complete game on June 1st against the Los Angeles Dodgers), Lester became the first Cubs lefty since at least 1913 to walk none and fan at least nine in consecutive starts. Just three other Cubs pitchers since 1913 have had consecutive outings meet that criteria: Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins in 1971, Jon Lieber in 1999 and Rich Harden in 2008. In Sunday’s 13-2 win over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, Lester went 7.0 innings without allowing an earned run, while striking out seven and not permitting a walk. The outing marked his third consecutive start without issuing a free pass, encompassing a career-best 24.2 innings pitched. With his current ERA set at 1.89 and teammate Jake Arrieta at 1.86, the Cubs are the first team to employ two starters with ERAs below 2.00 this late in the season since the 1981 Houston Astros (Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and Bob Knepper) and 1975 Los Angeles Dodgers (Hall of Famer Don Sutton and Andy Messersmith), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. With yesterday’s win, the Cubs became the first team since the recordsetting 2001 Seattle Mariners to win at least 43 of their first 61 games.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Danny Espinosa (.429, 3 HR, 20 TB, .952 SLG) and Jayson Werth (.500, 5 R, 8 RBI, .625 OBP) of the Washington Nationals; DJ LeMahieu (.423, 11 H, 4 2B, 20 TB) of the Colorado Rockies; Martin Prado (.480, 12 H, 4 XBH, .536 OBP) of the Miami Marlins; Wil Myers (.333, 7 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI) of the San Diego Padres; and Zach Davies (2-0, 1.38 ERA, 13.0 IP, 12 SO) of the Milwaukee Brewers.