Great week, Scott -- best in the league
Three long balls, six RBIs earn O's outfielder weekly award
Luke Scott carries a reputation. He holds his own in the first half, but after the All-Star break, watch out.
This second-half standout turns it up a notch.
And sure enough, it's happening again. After starting the season's second half with an impressive four-game series against the Tigers, the Orioles outfielder was honored on Monday with the Bank of America Presents the American League Player of the Week Award.
Bank of America, the official bank of Major League Baseball, is the presenting sponsor of the National League and American League Player of the Week Awards, which reflect Bank of America's long-standing tradition of promoting and recognizing higher standards of accomplishment. Washington's Willie Harris won the National League honors.
Scott, whom the Orioles received in a trade with the Astros for Miguel Tejada, won the weekly award for the first time in his career.
In the four games following the break, Scott hit .538 (7-for-13) with two doubles, three home runs and six RBIs. He crushed two homers in Friday's win, and smashed a game-winning shot in the bottom of the 10th inning in Saturday's back-and-forth triumph.
It shouldn't come as any surprise. After the break, he's a career .317 hitter with a .405 on-base percentage, .607 slugging percentage and 1.012 OPS. By comparison, he bats .235 before the break.
"He's a streak hitter," said Orioles manager Dave Trembley. "And when he hits, he'll hit anybody. He'll be patient, not chase bad pitches. He'll hit the ball to the other side of the diamond. I think he's showed steady improvement. ... He's a second-half player [and] always has been."
Scott's homers came against some of Detroit's best hurlers. He hit Friday's first homer off Armando Galarraga -- the Tigers' most effective pitcher in the first half, and the only one with a winning record before the break -- and the second off reliever Bobby Seay, who has given left-handed hitters like Scott trouble. He also faced a talented up-and-comer in reliever Freddy Dolsi in the 10th inning Saturday. Scott took a Dolsi fastball and deposited it 420 feet to right to give the Orioles an 11-10 walk-off win.
Scott stamped an exclamation point on the victory with a slide into home, before teammates mobbed him.
"He's like a little kid," said Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez. "He gets excited even when he gets a single. For him, he really loves the game. He'd play all day long -- 24 hours a day, he would play baseball. He's a great guy. It was a great game. He gave a lot of emotion."
Scott has made the most of his opportunity as an everyday left fielder.
Due to his struggles against left-handed pitching -- he hit just .228 off southpaws before the break -- Trembley penciled Scott in the lineup mostly against righties during the early portion of the season.
Not with his increased production. And not with one of the hottest hitters in baseball wearing a No. 30 Orioles jersey.
"With anything in life, if you don't have much experience at it, it's kind of hard," Scott said. "The more you do something, the better you're going to get at it."
The increased looks have seen results. Entering Monday, No. 30 has hit almost as well off lefties (.262) as he has off righties (.268).
Tourneau, the world's largest watch store, will award Scott with a luxury Swiss Timepiece, suitably engraved, in recognition of his accomplishments as the American League Player of the Week.
Other nominees this past week included: Orioles infielder Melvin Mora (.400 average, 1.067 slugging, a double, three home runs, seven RBIs); Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez (.455 average, 1.000 slugging, two home runs, five RBIs), Yankees infielder Robinson Cano(.571 average, .929 slugging, two doubles, a homer, three RBIs); Twins outfielder Delmon Young (.667 average, .917 slugging, a homer, three RBIs); and Indians pitcher Cliff Lee (1-0, 2.00 ERA, complete game).
Scott McNeish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.