Miami Marlins season in jeopardy by same ankle again

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The end of the 2016 Miami Marlins playoff run started with a single ankle.

It now appears that the same ankle might be about to deliver the 2017 Miami Marlins to a similar fate.

Well, not exactly the same ankle, but certainly the same player. Justin Bour, this time with an ailing left ankle, has already moved from rest day, to cautious scratch, to probable DL trip. And all in the past forty-eight hours.

Any amount of time he misses is devastating, especially with the team entering the hardest part of its schedule. Every game is a must-win at this point, at that’s going to prove difficult without the man that was far and away their best player last month.

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The 2016 Marlins did manage a winning July without his services, but that was with a healthy Martin Prado playing at an All-Star level, and both Derek Dietrich and Miguel Rojas providing productive at bats off the bench.

The 2017 version enjoys none of those advantages. Plus, they are in no position to coast. If this team doesn’t produce, it will almost assuredly be picked apart in July.

For Bour though, the situation is similar. When he suffered his 2016 ankle injury, he was on one heck of a roll. He was flirting with being a consistent .270 plus hitter, thanks to a torrid past few weeks of work, and had found his power stroke.

History repeating itself

Last season, Bour was only supposed to miss two weeks. Instead, he didn’t play for two months and failed to homer for the remainder of the season.

This year’s Bour has improved again. He’s already surpassed last year’s home run total, and is batting .295 on the season. Considering how stretched out the Marlins are in the infield, even a 10-day DL stint could prove too much to overcome.

It’s an entirely different lineup with him missing, and the trickle down effect could lead to anything from players being pitched around, to Don Mattingly changing up a batting order that has worked well the past two weeks.

Next: Mattingly finally beaten at his own game

It’s up to the Miami Marlins players to ride this week out, on the road, and without their hottest bat. Doing so would keep the pressure on management to believe a turnaround is possible. Should they not, Bour might as well take all the time he needs with that ankle.

He won’t really need it until next spring.