MIAMI -- Since being named the National League Co-Player of the Week for his torrid stretch leading up to Sept. 9, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce has struggled at the plate.
Bruce is hitless in his last 17 at-bats and 2-for-21 with six strikeouts. He has just one extra-base hit, one RBI, one run and one walk in that span.
"No. 1, the other teams read that he's Player of the Week," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I think that's what nobody sees. They're going in pitching him tough saying, 'He's hot, don't let Jay beat you,' and that's what happens. It's not just Jay not doing something. Sometimes it's them not allowing Jay to do a whole bunch. They're not throwing a whole bunch of good pitches to hit. Jay has to be patient and accept the walks. They're not pitching to him."
Baker pointed to Friday night's game as a perfect example. In an at-bat against starter Jacob Turner, Bruce waited on a 3-0 pitch and got a changeup.
The 25-year-old, who last homered a week ago against Houston's Bud Norris, is third in the NL with 33 homers. During his stretch that led to the NL honor, he hit .500 (11-for-22) with a 1.227 slugging percentage, .542 on-base percentage, four homers and nine RBIs.
It marked the second this time season -- and fifth of his five big league seasons -- that Bruce earned Player of the Week honors.
"You have the ups and downs," Baker said. "If you just had ups all the time, guys would be hitting .400. It doesn't work like that, plus Jay's still young. Most guys his age haven't been here a year or two. He's still way ahead of schedule and pace."