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Grand Slams

First to 30: Matt Olson Grand Slam Powers Braves

In the first inning back from the All-Star Break, Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson launched a towering ball into the right-field seats for a grand slam.

The Matt Olson grand slam opened up a 4-0 lead for the Braves as they continued their historic rate of first-inning production.

Through July 14, the Braves have 95 first-inning runs, 30 first-inning home runs, and a plus-65 run differential in the first inning. Olson’s salami gave the Braves their 12th four-run first inning of the season. No other team has done it more than five times (through July 14).

Matt Olson Grand Slam

Matt Olson Grand Slam: In-Game Context

Olson was the first Brave to record a hit as Chicago White Sox starter Michael Kopech unraveled. He walked Ronald Acuña Jr. to lead off the game before plunking Ozzie Albies and walking Austin Riley. After the grand slam, Kopech walked Sean Murphy and could not escape from the first inning.

The 4-0 lead proved to be insurmountable as the Braves tacked on five more runs in the later stages of the contest to win 9-0. Olson’s blast improved the Braves’ win probability by 15%.

Olson’s home run was Atlanta’s only of the game, extending their streak to 27 consecutive games with a home run. They are four behind the record set by the 2019 Yankees.

Matt Olson Grand Slam: In-Season Context

Olson has come to the plate with the bases loaded twice in the first inning. He has hit a grand slam in both at-bats, bringing his career total to seven grand slams. This is all the more impressive considering Olson was batting in the 2-hole every game until Mid-June.

Olson is up to 30 home runs on the season, setting the Braves franchise record for most home runs through the team’s first 90 games. Two other Braves have homered 30 times in their first 90 games of the season: Andres Galarraga in 1998 and Javy Lopez (31) in 2003. Olson is on pace for 54 home runs which would surpass the current franchise record of 51 set by Andruw Jones in 2005.

For the Braves, their 9-0 win catapulted them to a spectacular 61-29 record. They are on pace to win 110 games, but their pace since June 3 could have them challenging the 116-win 2001 Seattle Mariners and 1906 Chicago Cubs. They have won 28 of 33 games, opening up a 9.5-game lead in the division despite the Miami Marlins having one of the best records in baseball in that span.

Matt Olson Grand Slam: Career History

Olson has seven grand slams in his career. His first four came with the Oakland Athletics, including a walk-off grand slam in the first game with the Manfred runner in extra innings. Olson hit two in the 2020 season and had one in 2018, 2021, and 2022. In 2022, his grand slam off Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Cam Vieaux went into the river outside PNC Park.

Olson’s last grand slam came on June 17 against Colorado Rockies starter Connor Seabold – also in the bottom of the first. Oddly enough, Olson drove home the same three players (Acuña, Albies, and Riley) despite not hitting in the 4-hole in both contests.

Since Olson debuted in 2016, his seven grand slams rank fourth in MLB behind Manny Machado (11), Didi Gregorius (8), and Javier Baez (8). Olson is tied with Alex Bregman, George Springer, and Cody Bellinger. On the other side, it was the first grand slam Michael Kopech has allowed in his career.

Matt Olson Grand Slam: Statcast Stats

Olson launched the ball 430 feet, nailing it at 110.3 miles per hour. With a 24-degree launch angle, Statcast noted it as one of two barrels in the game, joining a 106.0 mile-per-hour flyout by the White Sox Jake Burger.

Olson had the second-hardest hit ball of the contest behind a Burger groundout (112.0 mph), but he had the longest ball hit of the night – the only home run. Olson is up to 47 barrels on the season, ranking third in MLB behind Acuña and the incomparable Shohei Ohtani. Among qualified hitters, Olson is fifth in barrels per batted ball. For every five batted balls, Olson is turning one into a barrel. Only Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo, Corey Seager, and Patrick Wisdom have done so more consistently.

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