Given regular playing time, Adams hitting LHP

Given regular playing time, Adams hitting LHP

ATLANTA -- Matt Adams has hit a postseason home run against both Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner, who arguably stand as the Majors' best left-handed pitchers. Still, throughout his Major League career, Adams has been given limited opportunities to shake the label of being a slugger who can't hit southpaws.

Nearly a full month after being traded from St. Louis to Atlanta, Adams is savoring the chance to be an everyday player while Freddie Freeman recovers from a fractured wrist. He has provided a presence for the Braves, who claimed Saturday's 8-7, 10-inning win over the Marlins with the assistance of his three-hit game, which included a pair of key extra-base hits against lefty Jeff Locke.

"I know that I hit lefties all the way up through the [Minor League levels]," Adams said. "Up here, it's just been about getting everyday [at-bats] against them. That's the nice thing here, knowing I'm going to be in there against a lefty or a righty. That confidence helps big time for sure."

Adams will be forever thankful for the opportunity the Cardinals provided him to develop within their system as a 23rd-round pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. He ultimately became a valuable big leaguer.

But as Adams spent the past couple seasons as a role player who was given limited opportunities to compete against lefties, he yearned for the chance he now has in Atlanta to come to the park on a daily basis knowing he will be in the starting lineup.

"I got texts from guys when we got him that were saying that he will hit lefties if you let him," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He has had some big at-bats against left-handers since he has been here, and he is going to continue to get the opportunities to hit off of them."

Adams has recorded a career-best three hits four times since joining the Braves on May 21, and a total of 23 times since reaching the big leagues. His latest such game on Saturday was the first to include three extra-base hits, but adding to the significance of this for him was the fact two of those came against a left-hander.

"I think with a couple of them coming off a lefty, a good lefty at that, it's up there," Adams said. "I've just got to soak in a little bit and then get ready for tomorrow."

Adams delivered a two-out RBI double off Locke in the first inning, then burned the southpaw again in the third with a two-run homer. His seventh-inning RBI double off right-hander Kyle Barraclough helped pad the 1.013 OPS he has produced over 114 plate appearances with the Braves.

When Adams was given a career-high 130 plate appearances against left-handers in 2014, he hit just .190 and compiled a .528 OPS. But in 50 plate appearances versus southpaws last year, he hit .283 with an .822 OPS.

Even with Saturday's productive performance, Adams has recorded just five hits (two home runs and a double) in 24 at-bats against lefties this season. But he's now at least in a situation where he knows he'll be given every opportunity to prove himself.

"I know deep down that I can get lefties," Adams said. "It's just getting comfortable against them and seeing them every day and seeing how they're trying to attack me."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.