Perhaps August will help ease what has been an absolutely disastrous year for Cincinnati Reds slugger Jay Bruce.
In his last three games, Bruce is 7-for-15 with three RBIs and a homer. While that might not seem like enough output to believe Bruce will finally break out of a yearlong slump that has him hitting .225 with a career low .693 OPS, it’s at least the sign of a pulse.
Bruce had flashed signs of coming around earlier this year. He hit .300 in June in 100 at-bats, but then was an utter failure at the plate in July, hitting just .139 in 79 at-bats.
The peaks and valleys that have defined Bruce as a hitter throughout his career have never seemed so out of balance as this year. But he has one last chance to erupt on a patented tear that couldn’t be better timed with both Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto sidelined.
The most notable difference for Bruce at the plate in August has been his approach. Bruce has actually decided to challenge the lopsided defensive shift aligned against him by hitting the opposite way.
Bruce’s first home run since July 8 came last night and wasn’t an opposite field shot, but overall Bruce has finally changed his approach at the plate enough to make a difference, especially while he continues to be slotted as the No. 2 hitter by Reds manager Bryan Price.
The Reds need to see Bruce take this next step in his maturity as a high-paid, vital part of the team. If Bruce can’t continue to develop as a hitter and his struggles continue to be the overall detriment to the team, the Reds may not have any choice but to try to deal Bruce during the offseason.