Sheffield allowed four earned runs on five hits and one walk while striking out five across 4.1 innings Saturday against the Orioles. He did not factor into the decision. Sheffield gave up three runs in the second inning when he surrendered consecutive doubles that led to the majority of he damage. However, he was ultimately chased in the fifth inning when he gave up two hits and hit a batter to load the bases. It was a disappointing effort for Sheffield, and he's now allowed four or more earned runs in three of his last five starts, inflating his ERA to 5.81 and WHIP to 1.68 in 31 innings this season. His next and final outing of the campaign is currently projected to come Friday against Oakland.
Sheffield is slated to get two more starts before the conclusion of the regular season, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. Sheffield next lines up to face the Orioles on Saturday night before wrapping up his season against the postseason-contending Athletics on Friday, Sept. 27. The 23-year-old southpaw, who thrived with Double-A Arkansas this season after finding life in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League with Triple-A Tacoma a bit daunting, has acquitted himself reasonably well at the big-league level. Sheffield has experienced a couple of hiccups in the form of a pair of five earned-run outings, but he encouragingly put together a stellar two-start stretch versus the Cubs and Reds (one earned run allowed over 11 combined innings) and has demonstrated some of the same swing-and-miss upside (10.1 K/9 through 26.2 innings) he's flashed at times in his minor-league career.
Sheffield allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits and a walk over 4.1 innings Sunday, striking out eight in the win over the White Sox. He didn't factor into the decision. Sheffield had allowed just one run in 11 innings this month but couldn't find similar results Sunday. He cruised through four scoreless frames before getting hammered in the fifth for all six runs he allowed. On the bright side, the eight-strikeout performance sets a new career best for the rookie southpaw. He'll carry a 5.40 ERA into Saturday's matchup in Baltimore.
Sheffield did not factor into the decision against Cincinnati on Tuesday, pitching six innings and giving up one run on seven hits and three walks while striking out four. Sheffield hurled his second straight impressive outing, allowing only a second-inning run in six innings of work to notch the first quality start of his major-league career. He allowed 10 baserunners but skillfully worked his way out of trouble by inducing four double plays. The rookie has allowed only one run in last 11 innings to lower his season ERA to 4.43. He'll look for his first career victory when he takes on the White Sox on Sunday.
Sheffield will make his next start Tuesday against the Reds, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. The rookie was originally slated to go Sunday against the Astros on five days rest, but he'll be even more refreshed now that Felix Hernandez will take the ball against Houston instead. Sheffield's workload will continue to be closely monitored after he logged a total of 133 minor-league innings this season between Double-A Arkansas and Triple-A Tacoma.