ATLANTA – Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s a new approach.
And just maybe Mike Olt will in the lineup for a fourth consecutive game Saturday for just the second time this season.
When Olt lead off the third inning with a home run – the only hit of the night off Atlanta starter Julio Teheran – it gave the Cubs’ third baseman home runs in three consecutive games.
That included his first career grand slam during Thursday’s victory over the White Sox on the South Side.
This comes after suffering through a 5-for-43 slump that included 20 strikeouts.
“It was a long month,” Olt said of a rough April that finished with losing his first opportunity to play daily. “I think I got myself out a lot. I didn’t have a great approach and got myself out swinging at bad pitches and getting behind in counts.”
But, he added, “I’ve had way worst slumps. I’m not really worried about it.”
He doesn’t have a lot of reason to worry after the last few games for sure.
Friday night, Teheran allowed runners to reach base just three times in eight innings of work, and Olt was that guy twice – with the homer on a 3-1 pitch leading off the third and an eighth inning walk.
Despite a .192 average and .273 on-base percentage, Olt leads all rookies by large margins in both home runs (seven) and RBIs (17).
In far less playing time, he’s tied with Anthony Rizzo for the team lead in homers and just one off Rizzo’s RBI lead.
“Every time he gets in the box we know that there’s a chance for some impact in his at-bats,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Historically, I think he’s been a high-strikeout-type guy. That really plays no significance. We know that when he does barrel up the ball, he has a chance to create some slugging numbers that are really good.
“As long as his confidence continues to grow, regardless of what the averages are and the strikeouts and things of that nature, and he feels comfortable at the plate, and he’s able to get ahold of a pitch that he likes, we’ll be happy with the way he’s progressing.”