Perhaps Don Wakamatsu is reading what the writers and the bloggers have posted on the possibility of Garrett Olson being replaced in his start on Tuesday in Detroit because that was the second thing he mentioned in the pregame meeting with him today.
“As of right now, we’re still planning on pitching Oly (Olson) on Tuesday,” he said in his second sentence.
He later said he and his staff hadn’t even considered pulling him.
“Right now, we haven’t even talked about it,” he said. “Obviously it happened yesterday. But I think you get to a point where you have to be able to work through some things and not just vacate on him. We already have some depth and we have a plan on the guys that are down there already. From our standpoint, we don’t want to create an environment or a feeling that it’s do or die. And granted we know the trade deadline and we know the situation of everything going on right now, but still we’re trying to stick the plan that’s got us here.”
Wakamatsu said he didn’t think there would be much over the next few days to sway his decision.
“Not right now, that’s where we’re headed,” he said. “The way it’s slotted in the minor leagues, where if we wanted to expedite that (July) 25th guy. But right now, that’s kind of the plan we were going forward. Olson’s thrown some good games for us. He threw a bad game yesterday. We’ll get him back throwing a bullpen and see if he can go back out and give us another start like he did in LA.”
When you talk to Olson, you can tell he’s highly analytical about himeself, his stuff and the game. You wonder if he doesn’t suffer from paralysis by analysis. Some of his comments from last night would lead to that conclusion.
Remember that line from Bull Durham: “Don’t think it. It will only hurt the ballclub.”
“It goes back what we’ve said before about a lot of the guys that have been able to resurrect their career in a sense, with Aardsma, and Russell Branyan, where they’re the ones that have to come to the realization they do belong here, and can be awfully successful,” Wakamatsu said. “Olson’s a guy that can draw on some successes and not focus so much on the negative.”
Wakamatsu pointed to the nine games Olson won with Baltimore last season and the success he’s out of the bullpen at times as positives Olson should draw upon.
“It’s trying to trust the fact he belongs here,” Wakamatsu said. “The rest is allowing his stuff to work. Pressure is an amazing thing at this level. It’s really up to the player, along with the coaching staff, to convince him he does belong.”
As for Olson and his tendency to slow the game down pitch by pitch when he struggles, Wakamatsu said it’s something they can’t cure from the dugout.
“I think he sets the tone by how long he takes between pitches,” Wakamatsu said. “Those are the keys we look at. Obviously, you’re sitting on the bench, you can tell the difference between his previous outing and now right out of the chute.”
Wakamatsu hopes the catchers can bring Olson out of that funk.
“We talked about it with Joh and Rob about giving signs a little quicker, and making sure that they help those guys through those situations,” Wakamatsu said. “It’s not an easy thing, but it’s something we’ve had a lot of success with the other pitchers is keeping that tempo up and being aggressive.”