The Oakland Athletics’ season will end on a sour note, without a playoff berth for the first time since 2017, but it’s not all bad for the green and gold.
First baseman Matt Olson had his most productive campaign yet, setting career-best marks in hits, doubles, runs batted in, walks and even stolen bases. Plus, he smacked his 39th home run in the A’s win over the Astros on Friday. That also set a career high for Olson.
Perhaps most notably, it was against a left-handed pitcher. Incredibly, Olson now owns the mark for most home runs as a left-handed hitter against lefty pitching, passing MLB legends Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. with 22 such blasts.
It gives Olson the most homers in a season against lefties by a left-handed hitter since at least 1961, the start of the expansion era. Olson passed Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr., who each had seasons with 21. Cecil Fielder and Dick Allen, right-handed hitters, each hit 25 homers in a season against lefties.
“That’s something that I’m going to be proud of,” Olson said Friday night. “I was a guy who wasn’t able to get in the lineup against lefties when I first came up, and I think just annoyed (manager Bob Melvin) enough to get me in there.”San Francisco Chronicle
This stat only goes back to 1961, but that covers a lot of baseball and a ton of Hall-of-Fame players. Interestingly, Olson is close to the overall home-run mark against left-handed pitching for either right or left-handed hitters.
Will he cross that line, too? It’s not likely, though it’s possible with two games remaining. But regardless, to pass Bonds and Griffey Jr. in anything is something to hang your hat on, as Olson said he’ll be happy to do. And for A’s fans without much to cheer about as other teams prepare for the playoffs, they can sit back and know they’ve seen something that no other fan in MLB history has, thanks to All-Star first baseman Matt Olson.