Matt Olson finding line of diving into hitting mechanics and simplifying things

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Late in Saturday’s game, Matt Olson launched a ball to straightaway center that appeared as if it might be a slump-busting home run that, if nothing else, validated his hard work during a difficult time. The ball jumped off the bat at 107 mph.

And then it landed in a glove for a 397-foot flyout.

“I don’t know what happened,” Olson said, smiling. “Maybe some humidity rolled in or whatever.”

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This is how it has been going lately for Olson, who went 4-for-61 over 17 games before Sunday’s series finale versus the Phillies. In that span, he hit a home run and drove in four runs.

Olson, who said he has been consistently under the ball, is working hard. He’s also trying to find a balance between mechanics and feel. He has tons of video at his disposal, but he has tried to be careful with that.

“I’ve gone full dive into mechanics at one point this year, and sometimes you can get a little too far into it as well,” Olson said Sunday morning. “Finding the right line of knowing when to dig in and knowing when to relax and go hit is key. I think any little bit of that right now of taking a step back, going up there and playing baseball, grinding at-bats, that’s where I’m at currently.”

Where is that line?

“If I knew the answer to that one, I don’t think I’d be in this situation right now,” Olson said, chuckling. “There’s definitely a happy medium to the two. You want to be on top of stuff mechanically and video-wise and stuff like that. But it can be paralysis by analysis sometimes. Sometimes, it just takes squaring up one, finding a hole, broken-bat single or whatever it may be, to get you back on track. I’m going up there, competing, having a good approach and a good plan every at-bat. It’s (about) just not seeing the results. All I can do is keep working and keep controlling the mindset leading into each at-bat, and hopefully the results follow.”

You will hear baseball players talk about this fine line. Numbers and video – technology, in general – is prevalent in today’s game. There are more helpful tools than ever, but sometimes players like to simplify everything. But they don’t want to clutter their minds.

Over the last week, Olson has narrowly missed a few home runs. He has pulled a few balls just foul. Those, of course, do not count for anything.

“It’s always good when you find the barrel, sure,” he said. “Hitting it fair and not foul is better. Obviously grinding a good bit right now, and you take any silver lining you can.”

And when talking about his mindset toward balancing video and his own feel, Olson mentioned the phrase about being able to see the forest for the trees. It can be difficult to do that when a hitter is in the weeds with mechanics, video and more.

“Sometimes when you’re just in it every day, you want the results so badly (that) you get in so far,” he said. “Sometimes, you just got to take that step back.”

Ozzie Albies update

Ozzie Albies will not need surgery for his fractured pinkie. He is in a cast.

All the Braves know is that Albies will miss the rest of the regular season. A postseason return might be a possibility for the second baseman.

The Braves on Sunday placed Albies on the 10-day injured list. They recalled infielder Rylan Bannon to take his roster spot. (Ehire Adrianza is on the injured list with a strained left quadriceps).

Bannon collected two hits in 14 at-bats in limited time with the Orioles this season. Vaughn Grissom will probably receive most of the playing time at second base, with Orlando Arcia serving as a backup.

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Success at Truist Park

Saturday marked the Braves’ seventh straight win at Truist Park. This stretch is the team’s longest home winning streak of the season. Atlanta has the second-best home record in the National League.

Any reason for the success at home?

“I just think this place, man,” manager Brian Snitker said Friday. “The energy that’s here, the crowds we’ve been getting. It’s a fun place to play, and these guys feel really good here. I think that energy in that stadium feeds these guys, and they feed off of it. They’ve got a lot of confidence here in this building.”

Snitker said he has heard opposing players talk about Truist Park being one of those difficult environments for visiting teams.

“As our guys have shown,” the manager said, “they’re never out of a game.”