Braden, Werth named Players of the Week
A's hurler tosses perfect game; Phillies star posts 1.407 OPS
Prior to last week, Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth was already a known entity, noted for his prowess at the plate and his contributions to the Phillies' recent hold on the National League, while A's lefty Dallas Braden was perhaps best known for a spat with Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.
By the end of the weekend, however, Braden had vaulted himself into baseball lore, and on Monday he was named American League Player of the Week by Bank of America for the period ending May 9. Werth took home the NL honor.
Braden, who made headlines in April after taking exception to Rodriguez trotting across the pitcher's mound, tossed the 19th perfect game in Major League history in the A's 4-0 win over the Rays -- the team with the best record in baseball -- on Sunday. The 26-year-old southpaw went 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA during the week, but it was his joining the record books on Sunday that set him apart.
Short of making history, Werth's feats are not to be overlooked. The right fielder socked four home runs, including the 100th of his career, tallied nine RBIs and sported a 1.407 OPS, as the Phillies enjoyed series wins over the Cardinals and Braves last week. Similarly rewarded for his efforts from Aug. 17-23, 2009, this marks the second time Werth has taken home the honor.
A native of Stockton, Calif., Braden spun his perfecto in his home state at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and he became the first A's hurler to accomplish the feat since Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter on May 8, 1968. Thrown on Mother's Day, Braden's perfect game also gave the big leagues its complement to Jim Bunning's perfect game, which transpired on Father's Day in '64.
All 30 Major League teams observed Mother's Day on Sunday, swinging pink bats and wearing pink gear such as batting gloves and wristbands. It was a bittersweet day on which to make history for Braden, whose mother passed away due to skin cancer when he was a senior in high school. However, his grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, was in attendance, and the lefty was effusive in his praise and love for her.
"It hasn't been a joyous day for me in a while," said Braden. "But to know that I still get to come out and compete and play a game on that day, that makes it a little better. With my grandma in the stands, that makes it a lot better. To be able to give her this today was perfect."
It was the first no-hitter by an A's pitcher since Dave Stewart's no-no on June 29, 1990, and the Athletics joined the Yankees, White Sox and Indians as the only clubs to have thrown more than one perfect game.
The magnitude of the achievement was not lost on Braden.
"There are not that many of them," said Braden, who was drafted by the A's in the 24th round in 2004. "It's pretty special. I don't really know what to think of it yet. It's kind of new. It's still kind of very fresh to me. It's some very select company. Also, those guys -- if you look at the body of work those other 18 individuals put together -- that's something I'd like to have a little more than just one day. So there's definitely more to do."
Werth was not among those to wield a pink bat Sunday, but he nonetheless ripped his milestone homer and finished the day 3-for-4 with his old standby, a black bat.
"I think everybody's a little superstitious," Werth quipped. "But to even talk about that is probably not a good idea."
On the heels of Werth's red-hot week, the Phillies padded their lead in the NL East to two games over the Mets and Nationals heading into Monday's action.
"We're starting to hit stride a little bit," Werth said. "This was obviously a good homestand, some good things that we can take away. We've got a long way to go."
Also enjoying big weeks in the AL were Alex Rios of the White Sox, Vladimir Guerrero of the Rangers and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers. Among the other NL players under consideration for the award were Ryan Braun of the Brewers, Andre Ethier of the Dodgers and Werth's teammate, Jamie Moyer, who became the oldest player in Major League history to toss a shutout at 47.
Dan Mennella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.