After enjoying the best month of his Major League career, Justin Bour has suffered a setback.
Miami’s home run and RBI leader hurt his ankle while rounding the bases on Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and an MRI scan has revealed a bone bruise in his ankle, which may require at least a 10-day disabled list stint for the slugger.
And just like that, the chances that the Marlins make it back to .500 in the next few weeks have taken a big hit.
Bour has been instrumental in the recent up-turn in form for the Marlins since mid-May. After a disastrous April, Bour torched the league last month en route to a .344/.427/.729 slash line. He was even collecting hits off of left-handers, something he had never done well in his career up until now.
His solid performances rejuvenated a sputtering offense, and the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon started to have more quality at-bats as a result of Bour carrying a large share of the offensive load.
Bour’s knock-on effect on the rest of the lineup has led to Miami winning the last three series (against the Angels, Phillies and the then-NL West leading Diamondbacks) and nine of its previous 12 games before losing 3-1 to the Chicago Cubs last night.
While Bour’s injury may seem minor, there is a slight cause for concern. Considering that he sustained a similar injury in his right ankle last season and ended up on the sideline for two months, the Marlins will have to ensure that they treat such a key offensive cog more carefully this time around.
Keeping in the trend with typical Marlins fashion as of late, just as things were going well for the team, something had to go wrong. While this injury does not solely derail the season, it could cause the momentum that the Marlins have built up over the last few weeks to be lost.
If Bour is only out for a week or two, and comes back at 100 percent fitness, then the team should be OK. However, if he is out for longer, then there is the possibility that he will lose his groove and not be the same player we saw in May. That would be a big problem for a team that was struggling for runs before Bour’s hot streak.