Things have been going so well lately for Gary Sheffield that he can hope only they continue to get better.
Points in case: Sheffield opened the week in Detroit for his ninth All-Star Game before he traveled to Boston, where the Yankees took three of four from the Red Sox to close to within one-half game of first place. And now he's the American League's Co-Player of the Week, along with Royals center fielder David DeJesus.
Not too shabby, even if the award -- the 11th of his career -- takes a distant back seat to the team's recent success at Fenway Park.
"What we wanted to accomplish, we accomplished," Sheffield said Sunday after the Yankees held on for a 5-3 win in the series finale. "This is one task, but we've got more to come. Going into the next series, we have to play with more intensity."
That will be a tall task, especially when one considers Sheffield's performance during the four-game truncated week -- a .500 (8-for-16) average, two homers, five RBIs, four runs scored, and a league-leading four doubles and 1.125 slugging percentage. But if anyone can play with
more intensity, well, why not Sheffield?
Not only has the 36-year-old outfielder posted some eye-popping numbers, but he's been building a synergy with third baseman Alex Rodriguez that has brought both players to the tops of their games, and could well spell doom for the rest of the AL East.
"I've always said he's like my big brother and he inspires me, I know that," Rodriguez said Sunday. "I love him, he loves me. We're very tight. We spend a lot of time off the field together. We talk a lot about hitting, situational hitting, and I think right now we're in a situation where we're feeding off each other."
And that might be one ingredient for things to keep getting even better for Sheffield.
Other candidates for the award were Royals first baseman Matt Stairs, who batted .444 (4-for-9) with two homers and six RBIs; Devil Rays second baseman Jorge Cantu, who batted .412 (7-for-17) with four RBIs and a steal; A's starter Rich Harden, who twirled a two-hit shutout;
and Yankees and Devil Rays closers Mariano Rivera and Danys Baez, who each saved three games.
Matt LaWell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.