It’s not exactly easy to put the ‘blame’ on one player in a loss in baseball when the entire team — as the Cincinnati Reds did on Opening Day against the Los Angeles Angels — put up only a trio of hits through a whopping 13 innings.
Then again, it’s not too hard to do in cases like this, either.
The big bad offensive force from the AL West and met the sluggers from the NL Central, and it turned out to be a display of
offensive ineptitude sterling pitcher performances, as evidence by all the zeroes on both sides.
That’s not to say that there aren’t crooked numbers to be found, though. In fact, two of the most important ones could be found next to the name of one Jay Bruce: four and seven.
The former is the number of the times that the slugger struck out on Monday afternoon, and the latter is the number of players he left of base. No, his teammates didn’t exactly help him much on the scoreboard, but it wasn’t as though the opportunities weren’t there.
In fact, Bruce saw nearly a third of all of those opportunities (22 total LOB), coming up with two on in the first and third innings, while finding himself with a key opportunity to blow the game wide open in the eighth with the bases loaded against a Angels reliever Sean Burnett.
He whiffed then, just as he did on four out of his five at-bats.
It’s not much of a stretch to say that he had the worst day at the plate of anyone on the Reds on Monday, but added to the disappointment is that it was Bruce’s time to really step up after the team lost cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick to an injury earlier in the game.
With Ludwick out for likely an extended period of time, it’s more than likely that Bruce will get that chance yet, and there are 66 reasons over the last two seasons that says he has the skill set for the job.
For the 25-year old to succeed, however, performances like this will have to be forgotten quickly because despite playing the role of the human air conditioner on Monday, the team is going to need his bat to heat up very soon.