For Scherzer, key to success is simple

For Scherzer, key to success is simple

NEW YORK -- For right-hander Max Scherzer, the key to success is very simple.

"I need to execute early in the count," Scherzer said. "When I do that, I have success, and when I don't pitch well, it's usually because of that. I'm a completely different pitcher when I am ahead."

When Scherzer is ahead, he can keep his pitch count down and mix in his slider and change, which keeps hitters from cheating on his fastball.

His last time out, Scherzer was on top of his game, as he allowed five hits in seven shutout innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out eight.

"It was a great start," he said. "I did a lot of things that I wanted to do. But I have to go back out there and do it all over again. It doesn't matter what you did last time."

This will be Scherzer's second appearance in New York after tossing two innings of shutout relief in 2008.

"It's one of the bigger cities in the game, and a lot of attention comes here," he said. "They get good crowds here, they get into it and you always like a good atmosphere."

Pitching matchup
ARI: RHP Max Scherzer (6-6, 3.61 ERA)
Scherzer has been the victim of poor defense behind him at times this year, and it has cost him some wins. The D-backs have won his past three starts, though he only has one win during that period. Over his past nine starts, the D-backs are 6-3, and he has a 2.72 ERA.

NYM: LHP Oliver Perez (2-3, 7.42 ERA)
Perez, who awkwardly acknowledges that "walks are part of the game," surrendered another four in his most recent start, on Monday, a start that lasted merely five innings. And he allowed two home runs as well in what became a no-decision against the Rockies at Citi Field. He has yet to reach the seventh inning in the four starts he has made since returning to the rotation on July 8. Against the D-backs, he has a 1-5 record and 5.01 ERA in eight career starts. But he didn't face them last season and has an 0-1 record and 2.08 ERA in his two most recent starts, one in 2006 and the other in 2007.

Tidbits
The D-backs took extra hitting on Friday afternoon, and it was a good thing they did, as their regular batting practice was rained out. The session gave them their first taste of Citi Field, and the consensus seemed to be that it is definitely a park that favors pitchers. "Gorgeous place," manager A.J. Hinch said. "Big. Looks pretty spacious in the outfield, so you can see why it's a pitcher's field." Added infielder Chad Tracy, "It plays real big." ... Entering Friday's game, the D-backs had the lowest batting average on the road in the National League, with a .227 mark. Meanwhile, they owned the best road ERA, at 3.61.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS-A

On radio
• KTAR 620, KSUN 1400 (Español)

Up next
• Sunday: D-backs (Jon Garland, 5-10, 4.42) at Mets (Mike Pelfrey, 8-6, 4.72), 10:10 a.m. MST
• Monday: D-backs (Dan Haren, 10-6, 2.19) at Mets (Tim Redding, 1-4, 7.03), 4:10 p.m. MST
• Tuesday: D-backs (TBD) at Pirates (Zach Duke, 9-9, 3.26), 4:05 p.m. MST

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.