Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jay Bruce made history against Clayton Kershaw this season

On Sept. 8, Jay Bruce did something against Clayton Kershaw that no other left-handed batter could do this season. The Reds right fielder blasted a home run off of the eventual Cy Young winner in the second inning. But Bruce wasn't done yet. He smacked another exactly two innings and one at-bat later.

Before that fateful game, Kershaw hadn't allowed a home run to a left-handed hitter in nearly 15 months. Furthermore, The Claw would go on to face a total of 165 left-handed hitters not named Jay Bruce in 2013, and not one of them could play long ball like Bruce did.

Although six plate appearances is an extremely small sample size, once could accurately claim that Bruce had Kershaw's number this year (3-for-6 with two HR and three RBI), statistically-speaking, of course. And a quick look into the players' past reveals that Bruce has held the upper hand in their previous match-ups as well. In 15 career plate appearances, Bruce is 5-for-14 (.357) with an OPS of 1.423. Amazingly, only one southpaw pitcher past or present has allowed more home runs to Bruce in his career than Kershaw. That pitcher would be Tom Gorzelanny who has coughed up three to Bruce.

Likewise, only one left-handed hitter has ripped more home runs off of Kershaw than Bruce. That hitter would be former Red Adam Dunn who has four to his lifetime credit.

Hat tip to Jayson Stark for bringing this fact to my attention

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