Since: Feb 2000
Scott Elarton answers your questions
Posted September 1, 2000
Houston Astros starting pitcher Scott Elarton is tied for third in the National League with 15 wins. After struggling at the start of the season coming off shoulder surgery, Elarton has turned it on in the second half, going 7-1 with a 3.11 ERA since the All-Star break. He took some time out before the series finale against the Mets to answer your questions.
Enron Field has been a hitter's park so far, but Scott Elarton seems to have figured out how to pitch there effectively.
Much has been made about Enron Field not being a pitcher's park. Does it make you feel that much better that you have a wonderful record while playing half of your games there? Do you adjust how you pitch at home versus how you pitch on the road?
Scott Elarton: I actually enjoy pitching at Enron Field. Earlier in the season, I didn't enjoy it, but I wasn't pitching well anywhere, so it didn't really matter where I was. Being a fly ball pitcher, you would think I probably wouldn't be a very good pitcher at Enron Field, but there's just something about it. I feel comfortable there. If you don't feel comfortable at your home field, you're probably in a lot of trouble. I never think about the dimensions of any park. To me, it's more a feeling of the mound and the hitter at home plate. At Enron Field, you feel close to the hitter and that's the biggest difference to me. I want to feel like I'm on top of the hitter, not like I'm 90 feet away. (Elarton is 8-1 at Enron Field this season.)
Scott, you are on my fantasy baseball team (known as the Philpot Fudgies). Here's the deal: I need about 5 more wins out of you for me to stand a chance of winning. What do you say, you think you got it in you?
Elarton: Well, I would hope so. The way things have been going, there's a good chance. But I just have to work on one more win right now and keep it rolling from there.
Do you get a lot of people coming up to you, telling you they have you on their fantasy team?
Elarton: All the time. Early in the season, they were telling me they were going to trade me. I said, 'That's probably a pretty good idea right now.' But I think if they held on to me, things have probably worked out.
How would you feel if someone told you that you are the best pitcher in Microsoft Baseball 2000?
Scott Elarton has bounced back from an injury last year to become Houston's ace in 2000.
Elarton: Good, I guess. I never really thought about it. I think I've seen one video game, or actually played one video game that I was in, and it was kind of neat.
Which player or players do you fear the most, and please don't say that you don't fear anyone in MLB, because then you wouldn't be human.
Elarton: I don't have anyone in particular, but the guys I fear -- I don't really fear them, but I don't like facing them -- are the slap hitters. The power hitters, I don't mind facing them because they're either going to put the ball in play early or they're a little easier to strike out usually. But the slap hitters, the ones who foul off pitches and you end up with a 15-pitch at-bat to one guy, those are the guys I don't like facing.
Do you feel a lot of pressure when you pitch, since you have been the only guy on your team who has been consistently winning?
Elarton: No, I don't feel any more pressure than normal. I think I put enough pressure on myself every time out that I don't worry about outside pressures.
What are the players in the clubhouse saying they would like to see management do to improve the club?
Elarton: It's hard to say. You could go out and sign 10 top-line free agents, but realistically, that's not going to happen. I think everybody here just wants to know the team is going in the right direction. We've got a good, solid core group and if we could add a few guys, I think that would be great.
Scott, continued success the rest of the season! Now my question: Why do think the home run output has leveled off since the All-Star break? Now it doesn't seem as though we will have a 60-HR hitter.
Elarton: There's definitely not one guy who's running away with it, but there are plenty of guys who have 20 or 30 home runs, or more. So I think there are just as many home runs being hit, but maybe they're just being spread out a little more.
Do you think a high pitch count has an impact on your next start? I noticed that after a 132-pitch performance earlier this season, your next start was short and ineffective -- unlike the recent successful string of starts.
Elarton: I really don't feel that way. Really to me, my arm feels the same every time out. There's probably one outing out of every six or seven when the arm doesn't feel as good. I think that's natural with all pitchers. But I don't think a high pitch count makes much of a difference at all.
At what age did you start pitching?
Elarton: As soon as they'd let me. I was probably about 6 years old when I started pitching.
Dear Scott, I usually played shortstop in my little league but this year my coach says I'm going to have to pitch. I don't have much of a problem with this because I pitched a bit last year, but my pitches are never consistently accurate. I know that last year you weren't as good as you are this year. Can you tell me the secret of your success?
Elarton: Last year, I was injured. That was really the key last year. But as far as control, I just try to do the same thing every time. With my windup, no matter if it's good or bad, I try to do it the same way every time. That way, my arm is in a consistent spot and hopefully the ball ends up in the same place every time.
In order to be a success in life, you need 2 things:
1. Don't tell everything you know.