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MLB Notebook: Bruce nearing rare company

Right fielder could join seven other Reds to lead league in extra-base hits

With his Sunday-night work against Clayton Kershaw, Jay Bruce is now tied with Harry Heilmann in 1930 and Johnny Bench in '75 for the 37th-most extra-base hits in a season in Reds franchise history. Among the 36 players ahead of him, Cy Seymour and his standout season in 1905 certainly merit some attention.

That year, Seymour -- who would not lead the league in any offensive category in any season before or after -- paced the NL in batting average, slugging, OPS, hits, total bases, doubles, triples, RBIs, and extra-base hits (69). It was truly an extraordinary season for the 32-year-old outfielder, who remains the only player in franchise history to lead the league in both batting and slugging in the same season. 

And while Jay Bruce isn't going to match Seymour for that distinction in 2013, his current extra-base hit total has him in a good spot to pass Seymour on the Reds' single-season list, and join him as one of the very few Reds players to lead the league in the category.

Bruce in rare company
The Reds defeated the Dodgers, 3-2, to complete a three-game sweep, with Bruce homering twice off Clayton Kershaw. 

Bruce -- the first left-handed hitter this season to homer off Kershaw -- has 21 home runs against left-handed pitchers since the start of the 2012 season. Those 21 tie Bruce with Adam Dunn for the most in the Majors for any left-handed hitter.

Bruce leads the NL with 68 extra-base hits, three ahead of the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter. Seven players in the franchise's history have led the league in this category: John Reilly (55, 1888); Seymour (69, 1905); Frank Robinson (92, 1962); Johnny Bench (84, 1970); Bench (73, 1974); George Foster (85, 1977); and Dave Parker (80, 1985).

Kershaw had entered the game with 155 plate appearances against left-handed hitters, and in those matchups, the only extra-base hits he had allowed were six doubles and a triple. The most recent left-hander to finish a season with at least 30 starts and no homers allowed to left-handed batters was Francisco Liriano in 2010, and the last Dodgers southpaw to do it was Fernando Valenzuela in 1983.

Nats flex muscle in Miami
The Nationals defeated the Marlins 6-4, with Ryan Zimmerman homering, Jayson Werth adding two hits and Ian Desmond falling a homer shy of the cycle.

Zimmerman's homer was his 20th of the season, giving him at least 20 in six seasons. That places the third baseman in a tie with Gary Carter and Vladimir Guerrero for the second-most 20-homer seasons in Expos/Nationals history. Andre Dawson is first with seven.

With his 2-for-4 day, Werth now owns a 1.061 OPS in the second half, the second best in the Majors (min. 175 plate appearances). For all Expos/Nationals with at least 200 plate appearances in the second half, Guerrero's 1.095 OPS in 2003 is the highest. Guerrero also owns the second- and third-highest marks);

Desmond's double and triple give him 118 extra-base hits in 1,125 plate appearances since the beginning of the 2012 season.  Among players with at least 200 games at shortstop in their age-26/age-27 seasons combined, that extra-base hit percentage (10.49) is fourth highest, trailing just Ernie Banks, Alex Rodriguez and Robin Yount.

Cano moving up in the world
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano had two singles and a double in Sunday's 4-3 win over the Red Sox in the Bronx. Cano's 366 doubles leave him three shy of tying Paul Waner for the fourth most for any player through his first nine seasons. Cano's third hit of the game gave him 1,625 in his career, moving him past Stan Musial for the 16th most in history for any player through his first nine seasons. The only Yankees player with more is Joe DiMaggio, who had 1,663.

Boston's David Ortiz had a pair of doubles, with the first tying Edgar Martinez on the all-time list, and the second tying Joe Cronin. The total of 515 puts Cronin and Ortiz in 48th place all-time. 

Gattis' potent bat
Atlanta's Evan Gattis hit a pair of home runs -- the first estimated at 486 feet -- and now has 18 in 273 at-bats this season. That gives Gattis an average of one homer for every 15.17 at-bats. There have been 72 players in history that have hit at least 18 homers in their first season. Among the group, the top five home run per at-bat rates are:

  • Kevin Maas: 1 HR per 12.10 at-bats in 1990
  • Adam Dunn: 1 HR per 12.84 at-bats in 2001
  • Ryan Braun: 1 HR per 13.26 at-bats in 2007
  • Bob Horner: 1 HR per 14.04 at-bats in 1978
  • Wally Berger: 1 HR per 14.61 at-bats in 1930

Fabulous at 40
Bartolo Colon picked up his 15th win of the year, allowing one run in six innings in Oakland's 7-2 victory over Houston. Colon is the 17th pitcher in history to win at least 15 in his age-40 season. Among this group, his current ERA+ of 131 would be the fifth highest. He trails just Randy Johnson (2004, 176 ERA+); Pete Alexander (1927, 160 ERA+); Tom Seaver (1985, 136 ERA+); and Jamie Moyer (2003, 132 ERA+).

Cardinals' starters on fire
Michael Wacha allowed two hits in seven shutout innings and picked up the win as the Cardinals completed a three-game sweep, beating the Pirates, 9-2. In the three-game series, Wacha, Joe Kelly and Adam Wainwright combined to allow one run on 12 hits in 20 innings. Cardinals starters own a 3.54 ERA; since 1969, the club has finished the year with a mark that low or lower 11 times, most recently in 2010. That marks the only year of the 11 to have taken place since 1993.

After collecting a single and a double, St. Louis' Matt Carpenter now has 65 extra-base hits, the most for a Cardinals second baseman since Frankie Frisch had that many in 1930. Carpenter has 48 doubles, the most for a second baseman in franchise history. All-time, 24 other second basemen have had at least 48 doubles, with Charlie Gehringer's 60 in 1936 the high mark. Seventeen of these 25 seasons have occurred since 1998.

The Bum rush
San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner allowed four hits and no walks in six shutout innings, lowering his WHIP to 1.030, in a game his team won, 3-2, in the 11th inning. The last Giants southpaw to finish a season qualifying for the ERA title with a WHIP as low as Bumgarner's current mark was Carl Hubbell, who concluded the 1933 season with a league-leading 0.982.

Loney's road to success
First baseman James Loney had a double and two singles in the Rays' 4-1 win over the Mariners in Seattle, raising his road batting average to .361 (86-for-238). There have been 159 players since 1916 who have had a season in which they had at least 250 plate appearances on the road and finished the year with a batting average of at least .361. The highest mark is Heilmann's .456 in 1925. The last player to hit at least .400 on the road was Ichiro Suzuki in 2004 (.405).

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions.

Jay Bruce, Madison Bumgarner, Robinson Cano, Matt Carpenter, Bartolo Colon, Evan Gattis, James Loney, David Ortiz, Michael Wacha, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman