Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cardinals Even the Series

Game Date: June 19, 2007
Cardinals 5, Royals 1 / Box Score
WP: Thompson (5-2), LP: Elarton (2-3)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 29-43

What can you say about Scott Elarton? He clearly hasn't found a way to recapture the magic and you have to wonder if time isn't running out for him in Royal blue. In recent days, he said he's been watching tape of his performances when he was with Cleveland and he's been trying to emulate his arm motion based on those tapes.

In recent starts, he's been "long." Which, in his case, means a longer stride than he used to take and his arm action is longer than it used to be. He's bringing the ball too low after he takes it out of his glove and according to him, it's making his pitches flat. That might explain the 9.17 ERA and ridiculously short outings as of late. But I didn't see any real corrections last night and I'm guessing that Buddy Bell didn't either.

The problem is, we don't have a lot of options to replace Elarton. Luke Hudson is a possibility if he is truly healthy. Joakim Soria wants to be a starter and with Octavio Dotel back, maybe we should give him a turn or two in the rotation to see how he does. Zack Greinke seems dialed in from the bullpen--no need to mess with him. Same with Jimmy Gobble. Nobody in Omaha is ready to make the leap. It's too quick to bring up Luke Hochevar. He's 3-6 with a 4.63 ERA in Wichita. A trade is always a possibility. Joe Posnanski is advocating a return to the four-man rotation. I wouldn't argue. Whatever we do, I just hope we replace Elarton before his turns comes up again.

As bad as Elarton was last night, that doesn't explain the lackluster offensive performance against a very hittable pitcher in Brad Thompson. But it's hard to complain about our offense given how well it has been lately. I guess we'll have to chalk this one up to a bad night.

Before the game, the Royals placed Mike Sweeney on the DL with an injured knee and they recalled Billy Butler. I was highly critical of Moore for bringing up Butler earlier this season, but this time it makes sense. Butler is a DH, period. Our primary DH is on the shelf, so let's slide Butler into that spot and see how he does. You get the feeling that if he does well, that Mike Sweeney might never get his spot back.

Tonight, the Royals try to win their fourth straight series. The pitching match up is quite interesting. Gil Meche (4-6, 3.00) will face Royal castoff Todd Wellemeyer (2-0, 4.88). Neither pitcher has ever pitched against the opposing team.

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