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4/21 Berardino column


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The Marlins are in sole possession of first place and what does Mike Berardino choose to do? Complain about the trivial fact that Olsen wasn't left in yesterday to complete the game.

 

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/basebal...,4011877.column

 

Scott Olsen doesn't get to finish what he started ... again

Mike Berardino | Sports columnist

April 21, 2008

MIAMI GARDENS

 

Somewhere in the great beyond, Billy Martin is cursing a blue streak.

 

The late manager who once coaxed 94 complete games from his 1980 Oakland A's pitching staff would be appalled at how incredibly rare that achievement has become in the overly specialized modern game.

 

In particular, he would look at how the Marlins handled Scott Olsen in Sunday's 6-1 win and scream his bratty little lungs out.

 

Here was Olsen, rolling along with a 2-1 lead through seven innings, a mere 98 pitches on his log. Other than Austin Kearns' leadoff homer in the fifth, Olsen had allowed no other Nationals past second base.

 

The rapidly maturing lefty wasn't just in control of this game. He had it by the scruff of the neck the way an old-school school nun grabs a sixth grader.

 

Looking ahead, the Nationals were sending up the bottom of their order: a fading Aaron Boone, Wil Nieves and, most likely, a pinch-hitter for the pitcher's spot.

 

Olsen had been dominant, and even though it was a hot afternoon he seemed to be holding up just fine.

 

"I think he could have [finished]," said Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley, who has worked wonders with the once-combustible lefty. "I don't think there was any problem with that."

 

Sending Olsen back out for the eighth would have been the old-school play. Lift him if he runs into trouble, but not until then, especially considering the alarming way the Marlins' bullpen has been overworked so far.

 

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 since Dontrelle Willis shut out the Phillies on Sept. 10, 2006. Only the Nationals (225 games) and Rangers (210) have longer droughts than the Marlins (199).

 

Before last season, by the way, do you know the last time a big-league team had gone all year without a single complete game? Try never.

 

So what does Fredi Gonzalez do? After admittedly "wrestling" with the decision while the Marlins batted in the seventh, the kindly skipper lifted Olsen and replaced him with journeyman Justin Miller.

 

How close did Gonzalez come to leaving Olsen in the game?

 

"Real close," Gonzalez said. "I thought [sunday] was going to be the day. He could do it."

 

You know what happened next. Boone drove the third pitch he saw from Miller off the wall in left, narrowly missing the tying home run.

 

Two batters later, with pinch hitter Nick Johnson (0 for 7 career against Olsen) coming up, Gonzalez was forced to bring in struggling lefty Taylor Tankersley.

 

That Tankersley fanned both Johnson and Felipe Lopez on vicious sliders to escape the threat does not make the Olsen decision any easier to accept. Nor does the four-spot the Marlins put up in the bottom of the eighth.

 

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.

 

There's something to be said for letting the racehorse find the finish line. If he never covers the full distance, how will he ever learn what it takes to get there?

 

For his part, the newly chastened Olsen isn't about to make a fuss over this the way he would have before taking anger-management classes. But the small grin he flashes when the subject is raised tells you he'd like to get his name off that list of help-needed.

 

"Everybody wants to finish what they started," Olsen said. "As long as we win the game, I really don't care. I could go five innings or eight innings. It just doesn't make a difference."

 

Not at all?

 

"Well," he allowed, "for that brief second it would be pretty satisfying."

 

It's just a matter of time, everybody with the Marlins seems to think. His manager said Olsen is "real close" to covering all nine frames, noting he hoped the kid gained some confidence from being allowed to hit with the score tied and a runner on in the sixth.

 

"He'll definitely do it," Wiley said. "He's on the verge all the time now. He's going to have one of those games where everything's going good."

 

Maybe then, Billy Martin can get some rest.

 

I disagree that the Marlins "desperately" need a complete game. Sure the bullpen is overworked, but I don't think two innings will put them over the edge. And then he seemed to try to goad Olsen into admitting he wanted a complete game because, well, there wouldn't be much of a story if he didn't.

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

 

Completely disagree with this.

 

A complete game is a luxury. Yea, it'd be nice. But no team desperately needs one. The bullpen threw two innings. If they can't handle that than something is terribly wrong.

 

This is just Berardino bulls***, and he is desperately reaching, here.

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Lets look back at that great Oakland staff of 1980. The five starters did complete a helluva lot a games, but a what cost.

Oakland went to the playoffs in 1981 but only because of the strike when they added the extra round of playoff games.

Rick Langford won 19 that year and only 27 more games in his career, pitched only 10 games between 83-84 and retired after 1986. Mike Norris won 22 games and only 24 for the rest of his career that ended in 1983, though he came back and won one in 90. Matt keough won 16 that year and then only 31 more, missing two seasons and retiring in 1986, though he too tried a comeback that one could say ended tragically as he was almost killed by a foul ball. Of the other two starters Steve McCatty would fair best as he won 14 that year and 38 more games but was done by 1985, while Brian Kingman who lost 20 while winning 8 won 7 more games and was through by 1983. The abuse of this young staff is the main reason that baseball has pitch counts and young pitchers are coddled through their first years. While the A's posted good records in 1980 and 1981 they wouldn't post another winning record until 1987. Good work Beradicko keep it up!

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If there's one guy the Marlins cannot afford to lose this year it is Scott Olsen. Why risk anything by sending him out just to say he "finished a game?" Besides, if he would have gotten the complete game, Berardino would have written a column demanding more no hitters.

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"Sending Olsen back out for the eighth would have been the old-school play. Lift him if he runs into trouble, but not until then, especially considering the alarming way the Marlins' bullpen has been overworked so far."

 

a 1 run game is a little too uncomfortable especially if the bullpen have to pitch with runners at 2nd and 3rd and the top of the lineup are up, if it fail, it will force a Fire Freddi thread being created here.

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I think he makes a pretty good point. Our lack of consistent quality pitching will be our demise this season, as it begins to wear down our bullpen - Fredi doesn't help matters at all. He actually is part of the problem. While it may be a bit over the top to focus on this one outing, a broader point that Fredi takes starters out of games too early IMO is a legitimate beef.

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

 

Completely disagree with this.

 

A complete game is a luxury. Yea, it'd be nice. But no team desperately needs one. The bullpen threw two innings. If they can't handle that than something is terribly wrong.

 

This is just Berardino bulls***, and he is desperately reaching, here.

 

agreed. this is some firejoemorgan.com-level nonsense on bernadino's part.

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What's up, Marlins fans? Yes, it's really me, your favorite Sun-Sentinel columnist/national baseball writer. Just wanted you to know I stop by here occasionally and I appreciate the passion for baseball that still shows up on this site. Congrats to Admin W for building such a following. But for those conspiracy theorists out there, I truly have NOTHING against Marlins management or ANY individual players any more. Got tired of wasting that energy long ago. We're all in this together. If people care about the Marlins, that means more people will read my stuff and listen when I'm on the radio. That means I get to keep my job and keep paying my mortgage. Yet that doesn't mean my role is to be a fan like you or get out the pom-poms every night. When I write a column, my job is to entertain you or make you think and sometimes even to make you angry. Nothing more, nothing less. I already wrote about the Marlins' fast start at midweek. The fact this team hasn't had a complete game in 199 tries fascinates me, so that was Sunday's topic. Stop trying so hard to figure out my true motives on these things. That's a waste of YOUR energy. (Got that, Marlins2003?) Oh, and feel free to stop by our blog at the Sun-Sentinel, where you can read the latest news and analysis on the team from Juan Rodriguez and me. Here's the link to our latest post: http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports_baseball_marlins/. See you there.

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lol I take it 2003 and him have a history

 

But if you come back, complete games are completely arbitrary. What's more important is our pitchers staying healthy and well. I'd rather we treat our pitchers like San Diego does with Peavy (Who could probably atleast tie the K record for a game if left in past starts), realizing that the World Series is more important than arbitrary stats, and not blow out our arms.

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What's up, Marlins fans? Yes, it's really me, your favorite Sun-Sentinel columnist/national baseball writer. Just wanted you to know I stop by here occasionally and I appreciate the passion for baseball that still shows up on this site. Congrats to Admin W for building such a following. But for those conspiracy theorists out there, I truly have NOTHING against Marlins management or ANY individual players any more. Got tired of wasting that energy long ago. We're all in this together. If people care about the Marlins, that means more people will read my stuff and listen when I'm on the radio. That means I get to keep my job and keep paying my mortgage. Yet that doesn't mean my role is to be a fan like you or get out the pom-poms every night. When I write a column, my job is to entertain you or make you think and sometimes even to make you angry. Nothing more, nothing less. I already wrote about the Marlins' fast start at midweek. The fact this team hasn't had a complete game in 199 tries fascinates me, so that was Sunday's topic. Stop trying so hard to figure out my true motives on these things. That's a waste of YOUR energy. (Got that, Marlins2003?) Oh, and feel free to stop by our blog at the Sun-Sentinel, where you can read the latest news and analysis on the team from Juan Rodriguez and me. Here's the link to our latest post: http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports_baseball_marlins/. See you there.

Hello Mike, nice of you to write. Not that I always agree with you, often do not. I do believe you when you say it is your job to make us think and even get angry, but I do not always agree with that concept of contrived issues just to get a response. Basically, many in the media scream and yell and say things that lack the basis of logic and is insulting to intelligent readers and listeners-that is why there is often criticism, not because we want you or others to be fans like us. Did this all start with Jim Rome and Jim Everett. Heck, we are all fans here and you won't see everyone just backslapping each other in agreement-in fact, there is much disagreement, sometimes too much. The point is, we do not start thinking just when someone writes something we disagree with. Maybe, sometimes, on some days, there is nothing to be critical of. But each day is a new day.

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