1. Sheffield’s back: Gary Sheffield took more than a month to give any kind of contribution to the Tigers whatsoever. Yesterday he finally gave the breakout performance every Tigers was fan was waiting for as the team beat the Orioles 3-2 to complete a sweep. Sheffield went 4-4, with a solo homerun and RBI single that provided the difference in this game. He raised his average from .191 to .226 in one day, and in the past ten days his average has nearly doubled. Additionally, he stole his fifth base of the season, which puts him at a career-high pace. The Tigers now have a four-game winning streak going, and they may finally have the slugger they were looking for.
2. From Champs to Chumps: The Cardinals are having one of the worst seasons ever for a defending champ. Due to a five-game losing streak, they have dropped to last place in the division and have the second-worst record in the entire National League. On Wednesday they were shut out 4-0 by the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers, who have the best record in the NL. Starter Anthony Reyes is now the official unluckiest pitcher in baseball. Despite allowing either 3 or 4 earned runs in each of his five outings, he is 0-5 due to awful run support. In fact, the Cardinals have only given him 1.2 runs per game in support, due to an offense with a .245 team average. Don’t blame Albert Pujols for their struggles; he is currently on an 11-game hitting streak that has increased his average by 90 points. The Cardinals can’t wait until starter Chris Carpenter returns, as all of their current starters have an ERA above 5.00 with the exception of Braden Looper.
3. Still perfect: Josh Beckett may be the Red Sox’s team MVP through one month of the season. He has yet to be beaten, and continued his success Wednesday by improving to 6-0 against the A’s. Beckett pitched 7 innings, with 7 strikeouts and 3 runs allowed. It wasn’t his best outing, but the Red Sox gave him plenty of support in a 6-4 win. The Red Sox are 17-9 and have the biggest division lead in the American League; Beckett has accounted for over one-third of those wins.
Player of the Day: Barry Bonds, Giants: 2-4, HR (9, 743 career), 4 RBIs in a 5-3 win over the Rockies.