May 19, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce (32) is congratulated by bench coach Chris Speier (35) after hitting home run in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Welcome Return of Jay (Jekyll) Bruce


Jay Bruce is currently riding the crest of an 11-game hitting streak, and showing us the good side of this Good Star/Bad Star. Or, as my colleague and excellent writer Tyler Grote calls him, Jekyll Bruce.

Whatever you want to call him, this is the Bruce we love to see come to the plate. More confident, keener eye, and above all run producer.

In this hitting streak Bruce is showing a slash line of .400/.417/.889/1.306. This includes 18 H, 5 HR, 7 2B and 14 RBI. Oh, and only 10 strikeouts, which as you can clearly see is less than one per game. Although he still leads the league in whiffs, it is attributable to his 48 in the first 33 games.

His 16 doubles leads the National League after the first quarter of the 2013 season. His season batting average is now a respectable .284. During his recent ride on the roller coaster, Bruce has failed to drive in a run only twice in the 11 games. In four of them he has driven in at least two runs, and has had multiple hits in six.

If you have watched the Reds for the past few years, you know that this metamorphosis is not uncommon at all. It will occur two or three times a year, and when it does he usually wins MLB awards: player of the month, week, etc. We have learned, yet not accepted the fact that we must take the bad rides with the good.

The team is also winning while he is performing in his potent mode. In the current hitting streak the Reds are 8-3 which is roughly 73 percent. I’ll take that anytime!

In games when he gets at least one hit, the Reds are 24-11. When he is hitless the team has won only three games thus far. On Bruce’s multi-hit games they have a record of 12-3. I am not saying that “so goes Bruce, so go the Reds.” But the win column sure seems to move in an upward trajectory while he is Jekyll and not Jay Hyde.

Bruce had a similar 11-game streak going in May of 2012. On those games he batted .415 with 7 HR and 14 RBI. In 2011 he had a terrific 14-game run (not a hitting streak) where he batted .417 with 9 HR and 22 batted in.

As a Reds’ fan all you can do is enjoy it when it comes, because when she ends, she ends suddenly. God bless Jay Bruce and God bless the Cincinnati Reds.

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