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COMMENTARY: Olson starts hot while Braves seek consistency
olson-commentary
Matt Olson lines up with his team before a spring training game. Olson signed for the Braves earlier this year and has been their offensive leader so far this season. (Photo Courtesy of Curtis Compton/AJC)

Getting hits, drawing walks and minimizing strikeouts ⁠— Matt Olson has done all of those during the opening three series of his Atlanta Braves career.

The new first baseman at Truist Park has been a model of consistency on a team that is looking for much more of that on the roster.

With 16 hits, 11 walks, seven runs, a .421 batting average and a .551 on-base percentage, Olson is consistently giving his team opportunities to gain offensive momentum. 

So far, he has proven himself as someone who wants to be part of a championship squad. 

The Braves began the season with the enviable tasks of defending a World Series title and going for a fifth consecutive NL East division title. 

While the season is in its early stages, there have been a mixed bag of results with an equal variety of interpretations that can be made from the 5-6 start.

Aside from Olson, Marcell Ozuna, Adam Duvall and Austin Riley have done well to give the Braves offense a strong base — each with at least 10 hits so far.

The problem lies outside of that group, with mainstays like Dansby Swanson and Eddie Rosario getting off to slumps to begin the season.

With a combined seven hits in 67 at-bats to start the season, the pair will need to heat up soon as the Braves try to make up ground against the Mets and stave off the rest of the division.

On the mound, pitching performances have been up and down as well. While ace Max Fried had a tough opening day outing of five earned runs, he rebounded by giving up two runs in just over five innings in his second start.

With two cycles through the rotation, the best outings have come from Kyle Wright, who has given up just two runs in 11 innings pitched. He has thrown 15 strikeouts across those two starts.

The rest of the rotation has had one quality start and one poor outing, so it is consistency that will again be important as the season continues.

Both offensively and defensively, the Braves will have a prime opportunity to find a rhythm in their next series, which will be a visit of the Dodgers.

The rematch of last season’s thrilling NLCS could potentially bring out the best in both teams, with the Braves hoping  the series can awaken the bat of Rosario, who was the NLCS MVP.

Among the good news for the Braves at the moment is the status of Ronald Acuña Jr., who will be joining Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday, April 19, for an injury rehabilitation assignment.

 "I’m sure he’s excited to play real games under lights," head coach Brian Snitker said. "It’s winding down to where we can get him back. That will be a boost for this club."

Acuña last played on July 10 of last year when he tore his ACL. According to the Braves team website, there is a possibility he could be back with the Braves as soon as May 6, when the team begins an eight-game homestand.

As of Monday, April 18, the Braves are second place in the NL East and are 2.5 games behind the Mets.