Grading Oakland Pitcher Ben Sheets: $5 Million Into His Contract

Erik LandauCorrespondent IJuly 6, 2010

As the All-Star Game approaches, let's take an updated look at Ben Sheets' season.

Last night, Sheets had his longest outing of the season, going 7.1 innings in a tough 3-1 loss against the mighty Yankees. This was his second-best outing of the year and his best one in a month, as he faced a very deep lineup.

The game displayed the ups and downs of his season. Sheets pitched a great game, except the home run that he gave up to Mark Teixeira, but still lost.

Through the first quarter of the season, I gave Sheets a "C-" grade. Now, we can look back at his starts since May 28th.

Sheets has started eight games since then, going 1-5 with two no-decisions. That's a rough mark for a supposed top starter.

But he has been steady, giving up three earned runs in a game five times and four earned runs three times.

He has had to struggle with run support, which also explains his recent record.

The Athletics have put up just over four runs per game over Sheets' last eight, which isn't too bad, but that average is distorted by a 14-4 win over the Pirates. Without that game, the A's have only averaged 2.7 runs for him.

Sheets has been more reliable, but he's still not winning key divisional games, including a 4-2 loss to the Angels, which blunts my praise. Overall, he stands 3-8 with a 4.89 ERA. I'll raise my grade, but just slightly.

Grade: C