Over the past two weeks, we have been asking for your nominations and votes for the SB Nation MLB awards. Today, our poll winners will be passed onto the MLB-wide award committee -- led by a familiar face -- to determine the overall nominees for each category.
Without further ado, here are our winners!
Funniest moment: Binocular-gate
Ian Kinsler with perhaps the best troll job of all-time right here. pic.twitter.com/KxXFPAbgd7— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) September 24, 2014
Chris Sale got upset. Ian Kinsler made him pay. OK, so Kinsler technically hit his game-winning RBI double off reliever Javy Guerra, but his gesture was meant for Sale, who thought that the Tigers had binocular-wielding spies in the center field bleachers. Except that there are no center field bleachers at Comerica Park...
The mystery lives on.
Most regrettable moment: pulling Anibal Sanchez in Game 2 of the ALDS
Despite my best attempts to make this a lighthearted award, Tigers fans could not get over the decision to remove Anibal Sanchez from a pivotal Game 2 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles. Sanchez had retired six consecutive batters in 30 pitches. Naturally, the Tigers' bullpen coughed up their lead in the next inning. Manager Brad Ausmus said after the game that giving Sanchez two innings was the plan all along, only adding fuel to the fire.
Best defensive play: Ezequiel Carrera's diving catch
Biggest hit: Rajai Davis' walkoff grand slam
Was there a bigger hit this season? Even with the bases loaded, the Tigers' win probability was still only at 20 percent when Davis stepped to the plate. After he took Oakland's Sean Doolittle deep to the left field seats for a walkoff grand slam? A nice, round 100 percent. Rajai jumped around like a kid afterward, which is understandable when you consider that every baseball-playing kid ever has dreamed up this exact scenario in his or her back yard.
Best pitching performance: Rick Porcello's Maddux
Zero walks. Zero strikeouts. Ninety-five pitches. That's all it took Rick Porcello to shut down the Oakland Athletics, who had the best record in baseball at the time. Porcello was masterful, allowing just four hits. Only one baserunner reached scoring position. It was his second consecutive shutout, making him the first Tiger to accomplish the feat since Jack Morris. And did we mention it only took him 95 pitches?
Team of the year: Kansas City Royals
They didn't win the World Series, but that doesn't matter. Neither did the 2006 Tigers. I think that our fanbase saw a bit of that squad in the 2014 Royals. Led by a pitching staff with a veteran ace and a flamethrowing rookie, the Royals also lost the AL Central by one game before blowing through the ALDS and ALCS. They put together a far better performance in the World Series, though. If it were not for Madison Bumgarner, we may very well be talking about the World Champs right now.