Elbert knows slider is key to effectiveness

Elbert knows slider is key to effectiveness

CHICAGO -- Scott Elbert was in the Dodgers bullpen on Saturday morning, trying to fix his slider.

"I don't think there's enough speed differential between my fastball and slider," said Elbert, who allowed all three batters he faced to reach base on Friday and was charged with the decisive run in the Dodgers' 5-4 loss to the Cubs.

Elbert has had control problems in the past, but his current slump is different. He had 0-2 counts twice on Friday, only to allow hits in both at-bats. He entered Saturday with a 6.75 ERA this year, having allowed 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Last season, he had a 2.43 ERA and allowed 27 hits in 33 1/3 innings.

Opposing batters are 5-for-9 after Elbert gets ahead in the count, 0-2. Friday's ineffective outing followed the walk-off home run he allowed to Jason Giambi in Colorado on Wednesday.

"I feel good," Elbert said. "I'm pounding the zone, getting ahead and the next thing I know, they're on base. I'm not putting away hitters like I should. Last year, they would swing and miss the slider. This year, it seems like it's in play every time."