There hasn’t been a bat much hotter for the Oakland Athletics as of late than that of Matt Olson.
Over 19 games played in the month of September, Olson has crushed a total of twelve homers to lead the team during that stretch.
On Friday night, Olson added another dinger to that tally to make it 13 in 20, as his two-run shot helped the A’s (70-83) cruise to a 4-2 victory against the visiting Texas Rangers (76-77).
For Olson, not only does the bomb add to his already impressive total that seems to rise by the day, it improves his already gaudy average of homers in relation to plate appearances.
By hitting 13 home runs in only 72 at bats during the month of September, Olson improved his average to 1 homer every 5.53 times stepping into the batter’s box — which leads the team.
A’s skipper Bob Melvin spoke about Olson’s productivity after the game:
“To say it’s a surprise anymore, I’d be lying… It’s amazing, it really is. (Olson) is consistent in his BP’s and consistent in everything he does. He’s at a point now where it’s just a good feeling every time he goes to the plate.”
Along with that, Olson now jumps ahead of teammate Matt Joyce to give himself sole possession of fourth place on home run leaders on the team during the 2017 season with 25 on the year.
Even more impressive is that Olson has only played roughly a third of the amount of games (58) as Joyce (134) to bring his average to 0.43 homers per game, leading the team in that stat as well.
After the game Olson expressed his comfort at the plate:
“I’m feeling pretty good up there. Finding myself swinging a little too hard at times but other than that, im still continuing to feel good.”
Along with Olson’s now-standard production, the A’s were the beneficiaries of a gem pitched by Kendall Graveman in his eighteenth start of the season.
Over seven innings pitches, Graveman gave up a total of six hits and surrendered merely one run on a solo shot to Shin-Soo Choo, half of the two runs scored by the Rangers. The other would come from an RBI double hit by Rangers left fielder Drew Robinson in the top of the ninth.
Pleased with his performance, Graveman attributed his outing to strong pitches and a good game caught by A’s catcher Josh Phegley:
“The change-up was really good tonight and we used it … and then located the fastball. Phegley did a good job calling the game and made some really good defensive plays. And then when we had to bear down and make a few pitches, we did.”
Graveman ended the night with four strikeouts and three walks, earning the win and improving his record to 6-4.
By beating the Rangers, the A’s continue with their winning ways to end the season and extend their winning streak to six consecutive games.
With Olson’s bat continuing to be red-hot, and Oakland riding the wave of strong starting pitching, Oakland has the chance to extend their winning streak again on Saturday when Sean Manaea (11-10, 4.56 ERA) takes the mount against Miguel Gonzalez (8-11, 4.75 ERA) to continue the three-game series against Texas.