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Scherzer will step up his game next time; Willis will check his arm today

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Dontrelle Willis photo by WatsonStClair
Dontrelle Willis photo by WatsonStClair

A couple followups from the big stories Monday: Max Scherzer had a second bad start since putting on the Old English D, and Dontrelle Willis is off to a great start.

First, let's dispense of the Willis thing: He hyper extended his elbow when throwing a pickoff attempt. He left the game but told the press he felt like he'd be able to do long toss today. In other words, it is probably not a big deal.

But that's just the kind of setback Willis didn't need, isn't it? Everything starts to go right and then it goes wrong. If Willis and Joel Zumaya didn't have bad luck, they wouldn't have any luck at all.

By the way: Willis is obviously having a great spring training -- well, nice two appearances. But how's that compare to the past few years? In four games in 2009, he had a 12.46 ERA. In 2008, it was 4.36. I'd like to come at you with a few more numbers -- hits and walks and the like. But no one really hangs on to spring training stats for long!

This year Willis has four strikeouts in four innings, but the three walks remain a warning sign that things may not be as changed as they seem.

Now, what about Scherzer?

Jason Beck of MLB.com wrote that Scherzer will increase his intensity after having a pair of bad starts. His stats after two games: 30.86 ERA in 2 1/3 innings with eight hits, four walks and two strikeouts.

Scherzer told Beck:

"Obviously I'm on a pitch count and everything, but still, it doesn't matter if it's Spring Training, a pickup game, anytime. If I'm taking the mound, trying to get hitters out, and I don't, it's frustrating."

Wondering if Scherzer is feeling too much pressure in replacing Edwin Jackson in the rotation? Scherzer says not to.

"I'm not trying to prove myself out there. I know that's a recipe for disaster. You've heard of other athletes trying to prove themselves in trades. That's just absolutely not my mentality."

Of course, the most interesting thing I learned is that Scherzer likes to do crosswords in the morning. I wonder if he does the Ken Ken too. Oh the questions I'd ask if I ever got an interview!