Matt Olson returns to Oakland and smacks a home run

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

OAKLAND – On Monday night, Matt Olson dined at Burma Superstar, one of his favorite spots in the Bay Area, during the off day. On Tuesday, he took different entrances and walkways before settling into an unfamiliar clubhouse in a familiar place.

“It’s cool to come back,” said Matt Olson, who spent all of his career in Oakland before the Braves acquired him this spring.

But this much is clear: Olson has moved on from his days at the place now named RingCentral Coliseum. He is appreciative of the Athletics, but is excited about the Braves and their direction.

“There’s no competition there,” Olson said. “The Braves is just kind of a new chapter. I’m obviously thankful for everything the A’s did for me in drafting me and giving me the opportunity to start my big-league career. Just as excited for this new chapter.”

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Olson grew up in the Atlanta area as a huge Braves fan. Plus, the Athletics – well, what remained of them since Olson played there – traveled to Atlanta in June, which provided Olson an opportunity to say hello to friendly faces. This trip to Oakland, Olson said, might complete the circle and close the story of his trade, but it does not seem to be much more than that.

The Braves’ first baseman played in a lot of games at this ballpark. One that stands out: The 2019 wild-card game, which brings back good memories despite the Athletics losing the contest. “It feels good,” Olson said of returning to this place. But there is no need to embellish here.

Olson is grateful for the time he spent in Oakland, but he became more and more comfortable with the Braves as the season got going. “The stuff between the lines is always the same, even though (it’s) in a different place,” he said.

Olson entered this two-game series in Oakland batting .247 with an .814 OPS. He had 27 home runs and 87 RBIs. He went 1-for-19 during the Braves’ most recent homestand. But Olson hit a 3-run homer Tuesday night.

From afar, Olson saw the Braves’ talent. But that is, of course, different from spending months living with a team. When a player gets in the clubhouse, he can see how guys go about their days and, as Olson put it, “what the main goal really is.”

“And from the second I walked in there, it’s been to win games and get back to what they did last year, and I love that,” Olson added. “At the end of the day, one team’s winning, one team’s losing. Winning’s a hell of a lot more fun than losing.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Braves managing Ronald Acuña’s knee

Each day, Braves manager Brian Snitker receives an update on Ronald Acuña’s right knee soreness.

Lately, the best course of action has been to put Acuña in the designated hitter spot.

“Everything’s getting better, but they just want to make sure,” Snitker said. “As we play him in the outfield, it’s just going to get sore again. That’s probably inevitable, whenever we start doing that. If we can DH him and keep him active, that’s just what we’re going to have to do.”

The outfielder has been the DH for five games in a row. He last started in right field on Aug. 26 in St. Louis.

The idea is that by taking the pressure off the knee now, Acuña can hopefully be as close to 100% as possible in the postseason.

“Once we start beating him up, throwing him out there in the outfield every day, it’s going to get sore again, probably,” Snitker said. “I don’t know – at some point in time, we’re probably going to have to get him out there for a push.”

Jake Odorizzi will ‘be fine’

Jake Odorizzi (arm fatigue) is expected to be able to start a game in Seattle. The Braves, Snitker said, don’t know which one.

“He’ll be fine, whenever we decide to slot him back in,” Snitker said.

The bigger picture is this: It’s impressive that the Braves have been able to slot in other pitchers and not miss a beat. Bryce Elder, Kyle Muller and Ian Anderson have all helped give rotation members some extra rest. This has been crucial in the pennant race.

“It’s big,” Snitker said. “We didn’t have to put any of those guys on the IL. We can slot other guys in, we have roster maneuverability. The guys we brought up – as Bryce (Elder) did the other day – did a great job in allowing us to do that.”

In particular, Elder has allowed only one earned run in 13 innings over two starts in the last month – both against the Marlins. He has looked much better than he did in his first stint in the majors in April (even if the Marlins are not a good team).

“He hasn’t pitched a lot,” Snitker said. “We were asking a lot of him to do what he did early. That was kind of a stretch. Now he goes back and gets consistent work and the starts and all that, and it’s huge. He’s going to get better, because he’s got weapons. There’s pitch-ability there, and everything. He just needs experience, and he’s getting it.”