September 10, 2012

Jay Bruce remains hot despite losses

Last Game
It always seems to go this way: the worst team beats the best team when the two get together. Does the bad team get an extra jolt of adrenaline that pushes them over the top? Or does the good team fail to find the competitiveness? Or is everything bound to happen eventually as the number of games approaches infinity?

The answer is unclear. What is clear is that the Reds lost an ugly one to the Astros yesterday afternoon, 5-1. It gave the Astros the W in the series.

Johnny Cueto lasted only 4.0 innings, which makes for his second short start in a row. Zack Cozart has been out of the line-up with a strained oblique, Todd Frazier needs a couple days off, and Jay Bruce is the only one who managed to get on base more than once.

It may ultimately be a good thing for the Reds to lose a little in the standings. It’s easy to lose your edge right when it matters most when you’re coasting on a 8.5 game lead.

Next Game
Even though I know these losses recently aren’t likely to change anything, post-season-wise, they still make for some really crappy baseball to watch. Personally, I hope the Reds can get some intensity back in the series against the Pirates that starts tonight. Mat Latos (RHP, 12-4, 3.69 ERA) will take on Wandy Rodriguez (LHP, 3-4, 3.50 ERA) at 7:10 p.m.

Jay Bruce prepares to swing and hit a home run to tie the game on Saturday.

Jay Bruce, Superhero
The Reds media notes yesterday pointed out that Jay Bruce is the first player ever who hit at least 20 home runs in his rookie year and then hit progressively more home runs the next 4 years:

  • 21 in 2008
  • 22 in 2009
  • 25 in 2010
  • 32 in 2011
  • 33 in 2012, so far.

Bruce is the first one to do that starting with his rookie year, but 5 other guys have had progressively increasing home run total over 5 years at other points in their careers. They are:

  • Hack Wilson (1926-30)
  • Willie Stargell (1967-71)
  • Jim Thome (1998-2002)
  • Derrek Lee (2001-05)
  • David Ortiz (2002-06)

I don’t know Hack Wilson, but the other names are pretty good ones to be in the company of. Bruce is streaky as can be, but when he’s on, he’s a force.

What to Say to Sound Smart at the Water Cooler
Joey Votto has gotten on base in each of the 4 games since he’s been back. He’s gone 4-for-10 over those 4 games with 5 walks and a hit-by-pitch.

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