Matt Olson finally had his moment with Atlanta. And it, quite literally, could not have come at a better time.
Olson had gone from a screaming-hot start with his new club (remember when he was pace to shatter the all-time doubles record?) to a mundane summer, to one of the worst slumps of his career.
The slump — he hit .165/.246/.291 over 142 plate appearances from mid-August to the final week of September — could not have come at a worse time as Atlanta attempted to overcome New York and gain playoff seeding supremacy. It got to the point where he finally found himself out of the lineup in Philadelphia on September 24.
And then, almost like magic, it all clicked again.
Olson hit five home runs during the week’s six games, including three straight against the Mets as Atlanta swept their NL East foes. It’s not quite over, but it’s awfully close.
Emotions were high on Friday night as the series began, and the Mets had taken an early lead. Austin Riley and Olson, who the Braves need oh so badly to step up if they are to make another deep October run, went back-to-back to take an early lead.
With a slim lead against Max Scherzer on Saturday evening, Olson came through again with a blast to make it 4-2 and give the bullpen much-needed breathing room.
And on Sunday, as the Braves had an opportunity to cut the magic number to one, Olson sent a ball into the night for a little insurance.
Baseball is a funny game. The greatest hitters in the world fail far more than they succeed. You’ll seemingly go a week without making an out, and then a week without getting a hit. It’s a hard game. Olson is no stranger to the ups and downs of a season of 162.
But as the lights at Truist Park shined brightest this weekend, Matt finally had his moment. Three homers in three games, as the Braves trimmed the magic number from seven to one.
Here’s hoping it was just the start of something special this fall.