Kerry Wood among the best |

Kerry Wood among the best

Chicago Cubs starter Kerry Wood did not get the no-hitter yesterday, but he continued a run that is establishing him as one of the top starters of the game for this season and beyond.

Wood struck out 12 in seven shutout innings, giving him 266 strikeouts to go with a 14-11 record and a 3.20 ERA. Wood’s inconsistency still keeps his ERA and WHIP a bit high, but he has the stuff to throw a no-no every time out and is a lock to go over 250 strikeouts as long as he is healthy.

  • Atlanta Braves outfielder Gary Sheffield drove in his 128th run of the season yesterday, breaking the team record of 127 that Hank Aaron set in 1966. Sheffield is batting .328 with 38 home runs and 18 steals this season.

    Every once in a while, Sheffield reminds us all just how gifted he is. Then, the contract year ends and he drops back down a little. Sheffield can hit and he will always produce, but don’t expect this kind of season again in 2004.

  • John Smoltz got his first save since returning from the disabled list for the Braves last night, his 45th on the season. More importantly, he struck out the side in a perfect ninth, making it look like the rest may have been all he needed.

    Smoltz’s work may be limited over the final week now that he has shown he is fine, good for Braves fans, bad for his fantasy owners.

  • This is the kind of run the Boston Red Sox got Byung-Hyun Kim for. He notched saves Sunday and Monday, then got the victory after throwing a shutout ninth yesterday.

    Kim has been erratic most of the season, but he can be dominant and he can throw almost every day when he’s on. Kim has given up only one hit in his last seven appearances and no earned runs in 11 outings this month.

  • Boston second baseman Todd Walker has hit his way back into the lineup after nearly losing his job to a slump last month. Walker homered and drove in four runs yesterday, giving him 12 home runs and 85 RBI to go with a .383 average. He should be useful the last few days and next season.

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