Jay Bruce went 0 for 5 tonight – striking out three more times, and ending his night with a horrible at-bat with the bases loaded that could have won the Reds the ballgame (they inevitably lost in the next inning). Bruce is down to .164 on the year; and while the ‘it’s still only April’ crowd can be heard, we’re starting to wonder if Jay Bruce as we knew him; the perennial All-Star Jay Bruce, is never to be heard from again.
Our greatest fear seems to be realized with Bruce. It is that; an offseason and time off simply does not fix a player trending the wrong way. Some can rebound, and some continue to corkscrew. While it should normalize to his career 24.6%, his strikeout rate sat at 32.8% before factoring in three more strikeouts tonight. Normalizing to strikeout a fourth of the time is by no means good.
In short, right now Jay Bruce looks like a 12-year old kid who went to the batting cage; and that kid’s parents are very poor. He’s put his quarter in the machine and he’s going to swing the damn bat. It doesn’t matter if the pitching machine is serving them up high or not. He contains no regard for where he’s hitting the ball or his surroundings. He’s going to swing as many times as he can before the quarter tells him he’s out of swings.
We see a dead-pull hitter right now, who is so deep in his own mind; we wonder if he can right this ship. What in the Hell happened to the .300 hitter who came out of the minor leagues using the entire field? Where did he go? Where did his regard for a good approach go? The legendary hot stretches are waning, and the slumps are becoming prolonged. His everyday play for the last year has been a slump.
We could show you his stats for his last 153 games – but we don’t want to. We don’t want to see it for ourselves because it might shed more light on a horrifying reality. A reality that; at 28 years and 22 days of age, one of our favorite players ever is done. A player that was supposed to lead the Reds into the next generation with his talent has somehow had his best days move behind him.
We are rooting for you Jay – we hope you find whatever has become lost.