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Scott Oslen's day revisited

Reading the articles about yesterday's game and Scott Olsen's most excellent performance, I was a bit taken aback.

Surprised by the Marlins?

They aren't.


The Marlins might not have seen a bigger surprise than Olsen. The same pitcher who had the worst ERA among starters in the National League last year led the team to a 6-1 victory Sunday against the Washington Nationals to lift his record to 3-0 this season. He also has a 1.66 ERA during his past three starts -- and the Marlins are 4-0 when he starts.

Followed by this from RotoWorld:

Scott Olsen improved to 3-0 by holding the Nationals to one run in seven innings on Sunday.
The lone run scored on an Austin Kearns home run. Olsen struck out just three, but he also issued only two walks and yielded just three hits. The left-hander has looked strong in the early going, but his command is still spotty and he has a history of bone-headed decisions both on and off the field. He's worth using in NL-only leagues for now, but it won't be long before he's a sell-high candidate.

Why is Olsen's start to the season a surprise?  Yes, he wasn't very good last year but that was completely expected.  When a pitcher throws 87 innings over the previous year's total as Olsen did in 2006, the next year is normally an off year.  It is a part of the game.

I can't claim to know all there is to know about fantasy baseball strategy and while I generally like RotoWorld, their comments about Olsen seem way off base.  You would think they would know better.  Have they never seen a young player mature and come into his own?

And then there is this:

Marlins starters have been averaging right at five innings per game, worst in the majors, and this is no recent phenomenon.

The franchise of Josh Beckett and Livan Hernandez hasn't produced a nine-inning complete game sinceDontrelle Willis shut out the Phillieson Sept. 10, 2006. Only the Nationals (225 games) and Rangers (210) have longer droughts than the Marlins (199).


The point is the Marlins desperately need a complete game from one of their starters, and if not Olsen then who?

Did we mention Olsen has yet to throw his first complete game in the majors? Just three other active starters ( Shawn Chacon, Chris Young and Tim Redding) have waited longer than Olsen's 72 starts for that rite of passage.

Exactly why do the Marlins need a complete game in April?  Especially when the author wants the complete game to come from someone who spent the last part of spring training unable to throw?  Sure the bullpen needs more rest, but that is more the fault of the pitchers that can't get to the fifth inning.  Fix that, then worry about a complete game.

In case the writer didn't notice, the Marlins play a 162 game season and erring on the side of caution with the team's best starter is the most sound strategy I can think of.