St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending September 23rd. This is his Jason’s first career weekly award and the first by a relief pitcher since Huston Street won the award for the week ending June 14, 2009. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Motte led the Majors with five saves last week, converting each of his five opportunities to help the Cardinals to a 5-1 record as they continue to lead the N.L. for the second Wild Card berth. The right-hander did not allow a single run over his five appearances and held opposing hitters to just two hits while fanning 10 in 4.2 innings of work. Motte notched saves in each game of a three-game set against the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium last week, starting with a perfect ninth inning in Tuesday’s matchup to give the Cards a 4-1 victory. After entering Wednesday’s game with two on and one out, Motte fanned both of the Houston hitters he faced on a combined seven pitches, capping a 5-0 victory for his club. In Thursday’s series finale, the Iona College product struck out the side after allowing a leadoff single to Houston third baseman Matt Dominguez, preserving a 5-4 lead for the victory. On Saturday, facing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Motte slammed the door on the North Siders in similar fashion, fanning all three hitters he faced in the bottom of the 10th inning to hold on to a 5-4 victory and record his fifth straight save. In doing so, he became the first Cardinals reliever since Lee Smith (June 23-28, 1993) to record saves in five consecutive wins. Motte recorded his N.L.-leading 40th save in Sunday’s rubber match between the division rivals, joining Redbird relievers Jason Isringhausen (47 in 2004), Lee Smith (47 in 1991; 43 in 1992 and 1993) and Bruce Sutter (45 in 1984) as the fourth pitcher (sixth time) to record 40 saves in a season in franchise history.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Motte’s St. Louis teammate Kyle Lohse (2-0, 2.08 ERA, 10 SO, 13.0 IP); Washington’s Ian Desmond (.474, 9 H, HR, 3 RBI, .737 SLG, .565 OBP); Atlanta’s Martin Prado (.476, 10 H, .560 OBP); Colorado’s Wilin Rosario (.448, 13 H, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .724 SLG); San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval (.478, 11 H, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 1.043 SLG, .538 OBP), Marco Scutaro (.480, 7 R, 12 H, 7 RBI, .536 OBP) and Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 2.31 ERA, 12 SO, 11.2 IP); and Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee (1-1, 1.13 ERA, 21 SO, 16 IP).