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Scott Oslen working faster

Scott Olsen pitches better when he doesn't have time to think.

Scott Olsen began seeing improved results when he started working faster Friday. After giving up three runs to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second inning (and racking up 49 pitches in the process), Olsen hit his groove when he picked up the pace, closing out his start with four scoreless innings.

''When I'm taking 17 or 20 seconds between pitches, all I'm doing is thinking,'' Olsen said.

And that, Olsen and catcher Matt Treanor agreed, is not always a good thing.

''I think when you get slower with him, it gives him a chance to start thinking about pitch selection and execution to where it backfires on him, to where it has the opposite effect of what you want,'' Treanor said. ``When he started working faster, the batters were trying to step out [of the box] to give themselves some time. Their rhythm and their timing were off, as opposed to our rhythm and timing.''

I could go into the normal blogger thing about comparing Scott to Nook LaLoosh, the character in the movie Bull Durham.  Who said: "Don't think.  Just throw." following his catcher's advice.

But I won't.

Thinking too much is a normal problem for athletes and most anyone who is engaged in an activity.  It's the reason there are a ton of sport physiologist getting paid a bunch of money to help with that very problem.  You think when you're practicing and trying to make adjustments, but when the lights come on and they announce your name it is time to just let the abilities that the baseball gods bestowed upon you and whatever muscle memory you learned in practice to shine through.  

And anyway, Matt Treanor earns his salary by studying the tendencies of the opposing hitters and what they more than likely can and cannot hit in a given the situation.  It is the job of the young pitcher to just execute the pitch that is called.

Assuming Scott Olsen's body hangs in there, he will be fine.