36-year-old Scott Elarton, last seen in the majors four years ago with the Royals, started his comeback with the Phillies on Monday and pitched two perfect innings against the Yankees.
He got four groundouts and a flyout before punching out Eric Chavez to conclude his day.
Elarton picked an odd team with which to attempt his comeback, given that the Phillies already have a set rotation, two fine fallback starters in Joel Pineiro and Kyle Kendrick and a seemingly full bullpen, but he can hope to impress one of the other teams this spring.
Once a top prospect in the Astros chain, Elarton won 17 games as a 24-year-old in 2000, but shoulder problems rendered him ineffective after that. He has a lifetime record of 56-61 with a 5.29 ERA. His last year as a semi-effective starter came in 2005, when he went 11-9 with a 4.61 ERA for Cleveland.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.