Instant Analysis: Olson continues HR tear in win over Rangers
Rookie ties record in A's win
OAKLAND — Matt Olson is not picky.
He blasts home runs on the road, at home, against American or National League pitching, and regardless of how many men are on base.
The A’s returned to the Coliseum on Friday after a nine-game trip, and their rookie first baseman picked up where he left off on the road. He launched a two-run homer in his first at-bat to propel Oakland to a fifth win in a row, 4-1, over the Texas Rangers.
That’s six homers in his past seven games, eight in his past 11 and 16 over his past 23. Olson’s 24 homers are tied for second most in major league history over a player’s first 68 games. The White Sox’s Jose Abreu had 25 over the same career-opening stretch. Olson also has 13 homers in September, tying Jason Giambi’s franchise record for homers in the month.
Need more proof of how impressive his current pace is? Olson’s 24 homers, all hit this season, tie Matt Joyce for third on the team in 2017 even though he’s played in just 57 of the A’s games. The other three players either tied or ahead of him have played in at least 132.
PEAKING LATE IN SEASON
Aside from Olson’s individual heroics, the A’s (70-83) are playing excellent baseball as a whole. Their five-game winning streak is tied for their season high, and they’ve won 12 of their past 15. Though it’s nothing to write home about, they’ve cracked the 70-win mark for the first time since going 88-74 in the Wild Card season of 2014.
A TREND CONTINUES
In a year that’s been sidetracked by injury, A’s starter Kendall Graveman (6-4) has been tough on the Rangers. He held them to one run over seven innings, improving to 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA in four starts against Texas this season. The A’s have taken six in a row at the Coliseum against the Rangers, who arrived Friday with a four-game winning streak. They fell to 3 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the A.L.’s second Wild Card berth.
SETTING THE TABLE
Marcus Semien went 2-for-4 with two runs and a stolen base from the leadoff spot. The shortstop’s improved on-base ability this season has solidified him as manager Bob Melvin’s choice to hit atop the order. His third-inning steal of second was his career-high 12th stolen base. With the A’s up 2-0, Semien reached on an error in the third and scored on Jed Lowrie’s single. He doubled with one out in the fifth and came around to score on Matt Joyce’s single.