Max Scherzer was sent down to AAA Toledo after struggling mightily in four straight starts from April 28 through May 14. Despite getting knocked around and sporting an ERA over 7.00 in the first month and a half, nobody thought his stint in the bus leagues would be a permanent move. But nobody thought it would take him just two starts with the Mud Hens before getting the call back up.â†µ
Scherzer attributed the quick turnaround to a mechanics 'epiphany' right after he was demoted:â†µ
"I made the epiphany the day I was optioned down, which was kind of a weird way to have it happen.â†µ
"The next day, I was in the bullpen and I really worked on keeping my arm action shorter so that it allowed my arm to work at the right speed. That way, when it came to release point, my fingers were on top of the ball."â†µ
Scherzer had unsuccessfully tried to work out his issues in the four games prior to his demotion, but to no avail. It wasn’t until he watched video of himself after his demotion that he recognized the need to shorten his arm action.â†µ
Whatever it was -- a wake up call, minor tweak to his mechanics, or both -- it seemed to work. In his two starts in AAA, he allowed just one run and opponents hit .083 off him in 15 innings. In his first start back from Toledo, he struck out 14 in just 5 2/3 innings, tying a Comerica Park record, and picked up a win. He was the first pitcher since 1933 to strike out 14 without getting through the 6th inning. Let's hope the heterochromatic-eyed pitcher can keep his mechanics in check and continue giving the Tigers outings like last Sunday.