I really need to learn how to write titles, but my failure as a headline writer is not the point here.
While Scott Oslen was extremely impressive in many ways in last night's outing and deserves all the praised possible bestowed upon him, a little should go to Fredi Gonzalez.
Olsen (2-0) insists he's the same pitcher he's always been, but he's just "throwing strikes and throwing down."
"When you're throwing strikes, especially strike one and strike two, and you're getting the ball back, getting on the rubber and pitching, you're able to get into their heads, maybe,'' said Olsen, who lowered his ERA to 3.05.
Gonzalez took it another step, praising Olsen's work habits and the time he's been putting in with pitching coach Mark Wiley.
But even that was not enough to prevent Gonzalez from sending out Robert Andino to pinch hit in the seventh with no outs and Alfredo Amezaga on first base.
The 10,462 at Dolphin Stadium couldn't even give Olsen a warm send-off.
"He was done,'' Gonzalez said. "I thought he did a terrific job. It's only 84 pitches, but facing that lineup it's like 100 mentally.''
Olsen threw 120 pitches Wednesday in his victory over Washington, but he was pitching on five days rest.
"I felt good enough to go back out there but in the bottom of the seventh of a close game, you don't want your pitcher hitting,'' Olsen said.
First we will cover Olsen: he was pitching a five hit shutout against the Braves and the pitch count was such he could've attempted to get his first complete game shutout in his Major league career, but he didn't complain when he was taken out of the game. Olsen has made 71 starts in big league career and has to yet to record a complete game, the third longest streak among active major league starting pitchers without a complete game. In an earlier time in Scott's career he may have "lobbied" hard to stay in the game, but last night he understood the situation and was content to just know that he had put the team in the best possible position to win the game. Ollie is coming around nicely.
Now for Gonzalez: whether this factored into his thinking or not, the results were the same. By Fredi taking out Olsen, when he did, he saved a lot possible wear and tear on the Marlins only quality major league starting pitcher in the lineup. Had Fredi allowed Scott to go out and finish the last two innings, I can almost guarantee what would have happened. Olsen would have used more effort than normal in trying to achieve his first complete game and a shutout at that. That is what young pitchers do and it is the stuff that leads to future injuries. Taking him out of the game was a very good and prudent move. And anyway, he threw 120 pitches in his previous outing and the club needs him for the whole season, not just for the first couple of months.
Sometime, and probably very soon, Olsen will get his first complete game in the majors, but it doesn't need to be in April in his third start after coming off an injury.