Ensberg wins NL Player of the Week
Third baseman leads Astros in home runs, RBIs
HOUSTON -- Morgan Ensberg may have missed the cut in terms of All-Star selection, but he was not forgotten for another honor. On Tuesday, the third baseman was named National League Player of the Week for the week of June 27-July 3.
During that time, Ensberg hit .387 (12-for-31) with four home runs, 12 RBIs, nine runs scored, five doubles and compiled a .935 slugging percentage and a .444 on-base percentage.
Most importantly to Ensberg, his performance helped the Astros go 6-2 over an eight-game stretch.
"It's a lot more fulfilling when you're winning," Ensberg said. "It says that the things that you're doing are helping this cause. It's a lot easier to be happy about an award like that."
Ensberg was one of 22 players nominated for the award. Also on the list were teammates Lance Berkman, Roger Clemens, Adam Everett, Wandy Rodriguez and Willy Taveras.
Ensberg entered Tuesday's action leading all Astros players with 22 homers and 60 RBIs, needing just three more homers to tie the franchise record for the most homers by a third baseman in a season. Ensberg hit 25 in 2003 to share the record with Doug Rader, who hit 25 in 1970.
On Monday, Ensberg became the first Astro with 60 RBIs in the first half since Lance Berkman drove in 81 in 2002.
Plenty of Astros players and fans are up in arms that Ensberg was not named to the All-Star team, but the numbers that led to his being named Player of the Week are a telling reason why he didn't make the cut.
The league's managers and players -- who pick the majority of the All-Star pitchers and non-starting position players -- had to have their ballots turned in by June 28. The Astros filled out their ballots on the plane ride to Colorado on the 26th.
So even though Ensberg was having a fine stretch of games up until then, he really made his final push for All-Star consideration after the "polls" had closed. National League manager Tony La Russa chose one third baseman to back up starter Scott Rolen, and that honor went to the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez, who had a .301 average, 18 homers and 52 RBIs at the time that the All-Star teams were announced on Sunday. Also a good choice.
"If I were managing the team and had to manage to win and I had to take Ramirez instead of Morgan, I'd say, 'OK, I'll live with it," manager Phil Garner said. "I'll take him. And if I had to take Ensberg instead of Ramirez, OK, I'll live with it. I'm happy with it either way."
Ensberg isn't tremendously concerned about the All-Star snub, nor is he planning to spend a lot of time shining his brand new Tourneau luxury Swiss timepiece that he will receive for being named Player of the Week. Ensberg would rather focus his attention on his teammate, Roy Oswalt, who has a chance to make the All-Star team as one of five Final Vote candidates.
"Right now the focus is to make sure that we get Roy on that team," Ensberg said. "That's something that we can control. We can't control the fact that I'm not on the team. That issue is over. Really, Roy deserves to be on that team. The guy's pitched incredibly."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.