Elarton's Early Success
A Few Tidbits from Elarton's interview on 810 WHB:
Elarton came to Kansas City because of his relationship with Buddy Bell and Bob McClure. Elarton thinks the Royals are a couple of years behind Cleveland right now and he thinks the Royals can get to that level. Elarton attributes his recent success to his command of his offspeed stuff. He's usually a slow starter because his fastball command takes a while to develop, but it has arrived early this year.
Elarton has pitched very well for the Royals so far, posting a 3.16 ERA through 5 starts. Can he keep it up? I want to think so, but his K/BB is terrible, as he's walked 18 and only struck out 11. It's generally very difficult for finesse pitchers to be effective if they are walking a lot of hitters and not striking out very many. So, why is Elarton enjoying success at the moment? As Elarton mentioned, he's done a good job of hitting his spots well. Elarton will have to continue to hit his spots well, otherwise things will go downhill quickly. At the very least, it's nice to have a veteran starter in a Royals' uniform doing well.
Other notes: Last night's game was lost in typical Royals' fashion. Mark Redman couldn't get it out of the 2nd inning. Mike Wood did a nice job of mopping up some 4 innings and saving the bullpen for Joe Mays' 3-inning start tonight. The bullpen overall pitched well, giving Hudson and Gobble some needed innings. Joel Peralta has pitched well since being recalled from Omaha. Why Stemle made the team and not Peralta is still a mystery to me.
Berroa hit his first homerun of the season and raised his batting average to .296. Apparently his good batting average is getting him early attention from Royals' fans in the All-Star balloting, as he's one of the leaders in the Royals' balloting. I guess most Royals' fans don't realize that Angel's on-base percentage is just 10 points higher and he can't make routine plays.
If it's not bad enough that the Royals have to send someone to the All-Star game, can you imagine sending Angel Berroa? I guess we can see the youth of 2003 flourishing, with Ken Harvey and Mike MacDougal already becoming All-Stars and Angel Berroa ready to become one as well. Life as a Royals' fan...
On to some positive notes with less sarcasm. Alex Gordon and Billy Butler continue to feast on Texas League pitching. Alex Gordon hit his 5th homer of the season and is now tied with Billy Butler for the team lead. Chris Lubanski is starting to heat up as well, now owning a much improved OPS of .754. Mitch Maier has also hit well, with 4 HRs and 19 RBIs. The Royals have a nice group of outfielders here that should help improve the Royals' offense considerably over the next 2 seasons. Hopefully, with talents like Gordon and Butler, the Royals will have true All-Stars and not All-Stars by default.