Improving Bour shows he can hit to all fields

Improving Bour shows he can hit to all fields

MIAMI -- It didn't matter where the Braves' infielders were lined up when Justin Bour came to the plate in the sixth inning on Saturday night. Because if they weren't standing in the second deck in right field, they didn't have a chance.

The left-handed-hitting first baseman has already seen his share of shifts. But in Saturday's 6-4 loss to the Braves at Marlins Park, there was no defense for where the ball Bour blasted landed.

Bour and Adeiny Hechavarria connected on home runs that accounted for three of Miami's four runs.

"Honestly, I'm just trying to take good at-bats," Bour said. "Whatever is given to me, not trying to do too much, especially in that situation, I'm not going up there trying to hit a home run. We need three runs there. I'm trying to get on base and drive the ball. Whatever happens, happens."

What's happening is Bour is showing the ability to hit to all fields and also out of the park. He's already beaten defensive shifts several times. Along with his home run to right field, Bour had an RBI single in the second inning to the opposite field.

Bour's RBI single

Of Bour's nine hits, six have gone to left or left-center.

"His at-bats have been getting better and better," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's hit some balls the other way, which showed us early that he understood what they were trying to do to him. Early on, I thought it was weak contact the other way. But lately, you've seen more balls hit hard."

Statcast™ projected Bour's homer to right field to have landed 415 feet away from home plate, with an exit velocity of 107 mph. The launch angle of 32 degrees elevated the ball to the second deck.

"I think my natural approach is trying to drive the ball into the gaps, left-center and right-center," Bour said. "But it's been one of those things where I've got to take what's given to me. A little early on, I was a little jumpy. I'm starting to settle in and just trying to make the most of the at-bats, get on base and keep the line moving."

Hechavarria's two-run home run also was a no-doubter. It also was big at the time, because it gave Miami a 3-2 lead in the second inning.

Hechavarria's two-run homer

Statcast™ listed the drive at 419 feet with an exit velocity of 103 mph, and a 25-degree launch angle.

"I felt great with it being my first home run [of the season], and because it gave our team the lead at the time," Hechavarria said. "It was a big moment to be able to do something for the team. Things got complicated after that and we lost, but I think tomorrow we will go back out there and give it our all to get the victory."

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.