Two left fielders were rewarded on Monday for their torrid performances at the plate with Bank of America Player of the Week nods for June 14-21.
Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday won in the National League, and Rays speedster Carl Crawford took the American League honor, after both knocked the cover off the ball during six-game stretches. That is where the similarities between the two end, however.
Crawford's bat was louder than the vuvuzelas which disrupted the Rays' game against the Marlins on Saturday. He took the AL award with a diverse output at the plate, hitting .429 (9-for-21), with a double, two triples and a home run.
Crawford, who is second among AL outfielders in All-Star voting, also walked seven times and stole three bases, finishing with a .571 on-base percentage. The Rays' left fielder, who won the award for the third time in his nine-year career, couldn't lift the Rays as a whole. Tampa Bay lurched to a 2-4 record during the week, dropping road series to the Braves and Marlins.
One of the Major League-leading nine runs he scored during the week came on a spectacular play on June 16 against the Braves, when Crawford fell as he approached home plate, recovered and outran catcher Brian McCann.
"He just lost his footing, and it was still kind of slick," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "I don't think anybody else would have scored after falling like he had."
Maddon compared Crawford to a football player running for the end zone
"He stayed in bounds just enough, showed the ball, and he broke the plane at the pylon," he deadpanned.
Holliday bowled over the competition in the NL, winning the award for the sixth time in his career. He led the Majors with four home runs and batted .435 (10-for-35). After switching to the No. 2 spot in the Cardinals' lineup on June 14, Holliday drove in 10 runs, eight of which came during a three-game series against the A's, his former club. Holliday homered in three consecutive games against Oakland. His big week erased talk of Holliday's frustratingly slow start.
"When you're swinging the bat well, you're not chasing bad pitches," Holliday said. "There's definitely a parallel there. I'm recognizing pitches better than when [I was] struggling. Everybody does."
Thanks in large part to Holliday's sudden surge, the Cardinals went 4-2 during the week, taking the opening two games in series against the Mariners and A's.
Sunil Joshi is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.