Olsen makes his second career start as the Marlins open a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers at Dolphins Stadium.
Leiter signed a one-year, $8 million contract in the offseason with the Marlins, whom he helped lead to the World Series title in 1997. However, the 39-year-old left-hander, who went 10-8 with a 3.21 ERA last season for the New York Mets and is 158-126 in his 19-year career, is just 3-6 in 15 starts with a 6.45 ERA this season.
“I didn’t expect this at all, knowing what I’d seen of him in the past,” manager Jack McKeon said. “I thought he’d be a guy who’d win 12 to 14 games for us.”
To help the left-hander turn his season around, McKeon is skipping Leiter’s turn in the rotation and sending Olsen to the mound in Monday’s series opener. Olsen made his major league debut on June 25 in a spot start for the injured Josh Beckett and allowed just one unearned run and four hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
“I like his poise,” McKeon said. “I like the way he commands the strike zone.”
Five days later, he allowed two earned runs and two hits in 1 1-3 innings of relief in the Marlins’ 6-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, but did not receive a decision.
“He pitched a hell of a game and certainly deserved some more opportunities,” McKeon said. “He did a pretty good job (Thursday). He got four key outs.”
Olsen will square off against Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets. Sheets, who has made seven starts since missing more than a month with an inner ear ailment, allowed two earned runs and six hits in six innings of the Brewers’ 3-2 loss to Kerry Wood and the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, but did not receive a decision.
Sheets, who is 2-3 since coming off the DL, said after the game that he is still working out some kinks in his breaking ball.
“It’s kind of like spring,” Sheets said. “I never have a good breaking ball in the spring. It’s a ‘feel pitch,’ so the more you throw it, the better it feels. I know it’s going to come, but I’m tired of waiting on it.”
The Brewers lost 11-10 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, ending their three-game winning streak. Rickie Weeks and Chad Moeller each homered and J.J. Hardy had a pair of doubles and two RBIs for Milwaukee, which led 8-2 after six innings.
The Pirates played the game under protest because manager Lloyd McClendon claimed in the third inning that Milwaukee starter Doug Davis was stopping twice during his delivery. The game was delayed for about 10 minutes while both managers met with umpires.
The Marlins also scored on a passed ball and a throwing error.