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Scherzer dominant in Triple-A return05/20/2010 11:44 PM ET
By Alex Raskin / Special to MLB.com
Max Scherzer didn't have the solution to his predicament until it was too late.
After posting a 1-4 record and a 7.29 ERA in his first few months with Detroit, the former first-rounder was optioned to Toledo earlier this week.
But he allowed one hit and struck out 10 while walking one over eight innings in the Mud Hens' 4-0 win over the Durham Bulls on Thursday night.
The 25-year-old was poring over footage of his final big league outings when he noticed a peculiar habit he had developed.
"I knew something wasn't right compared to last year," Scherzer said. "The day when I saw the video is when I realized a change needed to be made.
"When I got optioned down, I had a mechanical flaw in my arm action. I was wrapping the ball around my body too much and I thought that was the cause of why my arm slot was lower."
He headed back to Triple-A after two seasons in the Major Leagues, but there was a blueprint for his return.
"We worked on shortening my arm action in hopes that I can get on top of my off-speed pitches better," Scherzer said. "The ball was flattening out. It took away all the little things that make a fastball good: the deception, the movement, the life."
Scherzer struck out three of the first four batters he faced before giving up a double to Durham's Rashad Eldridge in the second inning. The 6-foot-3 right-hander got Angel Chavez to line out to left to end the inning.
After retiring the next five, Dan Johnson became Durham's last batter to reach base against Scherzer when he drew a fourth-inning walk.
"My slider, at times tonight, was good," Scherzer said. "My slider had more vertical movement. When I get into problems, my slider has been flattening out and moving from side to side. My slider had more tilt and more downward action tonight and I was able to throw it for strikes.
"I thought my changeup had good depth," he added. "I was able to throw both for strikes. When I throw my off-speed stuff for strikes, that's when I have good outings."
Scherzer retired the final 13 batters he faced before being replaced by Robbie Weinhardt in the ninth. Weinhardt allowed one hit before sealing the victory.
"The only thing I control is my mechanics and how well I pitch," said Scherzer. "I got a nice taste of humble pie, but my goal is to compete here for Toledo."
Thursday was a step in the right direction.
"Results are always nice," Scherzer said. "Any time you can go out and have a good game is great. I was talking to our pitching coach, [A. J. Sager] and he said [my throwing motion] was looking good. It was definitely shorter. He felt and I felt my off-speed was much better and I was getting good depth on it. To me, that was the more encouraging thing than the results."