Bour to hit fifth, protecting Stanton

Duo will provide Mattingly with right-left power tandem

Bour to hit fifth, protecting Stanton

JUPITER, Fla. -- Teams looking to pitch around Giancarlo Stanton will have something else to ponder. First baseman Justin Bour, who belted 23 homers last year, is capable of doing damage in the heart of the Marlins' order.

In Tuesday's 5-1 win against the University of Miami, Marlins manager Don Mattingly had Stanton in the cleanup spot and Bour fifth. It sets up a right-left power tandem.

Bour took over the first-base job last May, and his performance partly led to the Marlins trading Michael Morse to the Dodgers.

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In 129 games, Bour hit .262/.321/.479. He paced the team in RBIs with 73 and was second in home runs, only behind Stanton's 27.

"This guy can hit," Mattingly said. "To me, that's what we look for, a guy who is a threat back there who can drive in runs. If they don't want to pitch to Big G, they're going to have to go through him."

Opponents, obviously, will still look to navigate around Stanton, one of the most feared threats in the game. But if last season is an indication, Bour should give them something to think about.

With runners in scoring position, the left-handed-hitting first baseman had a slash line of .302/.369/.612 with nine homers, nine doubles and 57 RBIs. Bour was 35-for-116 with runners in scoring position.

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Bour doesn't feel he will have much of an adjustment hitting behind Stanton.

"It's not too much different than any other place," Bour said. "I haven't had problems hitting behind him in the past. A lot of times, he's going to hit all the guys who are on base in. So sometimes I'll be hitting with nobody on, and sometimes they'll walk him and I'll be hitting with a bunch of guys on. Honestly, I don't look at it any differently."

Stanton still will be the player opponents will pitch carefully, and for good reason.

"We all watch him every day," Bour said. "It's pretty fascinating watching him take BP and stuff. He just hits it so much farther than everybody else. It's just ridiculous."

Mattingly is working with one of the most balanced lineups the Marlins have had in years. Bour is a left-handed threat, something the organization has lacked through the years.

For the lineup to work efficiently, Mattingly stresses the need for a collective effort.

"Again, we've all got to do our job," Mattingly said. "Everybody has got to swing the bat well. We're going to get better, if everybody plays well. We're going to need a lot of guys to do well.

"Big G can have a monster year. We've seen Dee [Gordon] have a monster year last year. We have to have the whole team having good years. That's how we're going to win."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.