Braves have a smart thief in Bourn

Braves have a smart thief in Bourn

PHILADELPHIA -- Since his arrival from Houston on Aug. 1, Michael Bourn has given the Braves something they have almost never had in their history -- a legitimate threat on the basepaths.

In Tuesday night's 6-3 loss to the Phillies, Bourn stole his 50th base of the season. Though that total includes his four months with the Astros, it's still an achievement that only Hap Myers (57 in 1913) and Otis Nixon (57 in 1991) have accomplished in a Braves uniform since 1900.

"Michael Bourn is up there, really up there [with the best basestealers in the game]," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Because he doesn't just steal bases. You have guys that run just to get the numbers -- you know what I mean. He's very smart. He studies the other pitchers, he monitors the timing -- everybody does -- but he's really focused on when he can go. If he doesn't like the time, he's not going to go."

In 2007, when Bourn was with the Phillies, he benefited from working with Philadelphia's first-base coach at the time, Davey Lopes. Lopes has been credited with much of the Phillies' success on the basepaths from 2007 through 2010, when the club led the league in stolen-base percentage.

"He's got a very good idea of when to steal a bag," Gonzalez said. "I'm sure that foundation Davey developed for him when he was young carries over to today. I've never spoken to him about that, but I know Davey's reputation when it comes to teaching basestealing, and he's taken that over to the Dodgers this year. I'm sure that's part of the foundation."

Bourn's success rate this year is 81 percent.