Everyone’s talking about Phillies 1B/OF Rhys Hoskin, and for good reason. Entering Sunday, he had homered 18 times in 36 games. J.D. Martinez has also garnered lots of press for his prodigious power, going yard 23 times in 50 games since becoming a Diamondback. Few people, however, have been talking about Athletics first baseman Matt Olson, who on Sunday cranked out his 21st home run in his 53rd game.
Olson’s solo shot came in the fourth inning against Henderson Alvarez, tying the game at two apiece. It was the second of back-to-back home runs with Chad Pinder.
Olson, 23, has been particularly powerful since the end of August. Between August 27 and today, he hit 13 home runs in 18 games. He and Martinez (12) are the only players with double-digit homers since that date. The Indians’ Jose Ramirez has nine. Hoskins has eight.
Following Sunday’s action, Olson is batting .266/.354/.651 with 40 RBI along with the 21 round-trippers in 192 plate appearances.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.