In the eighth inning of the New York Mets' 5-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves, manager Terry Collins pinch hit for Jay Bruce, who was the game-tying run, with Eric Campbell.
Bruce, who was 0 for 3 in the game, is hitless in his last 13 at-bats and is 3 for his last 38. He is hitting .176 since the Mets acquired him at the trade deadline.
"I always think I'm the best choice ... but he's the manager and I respect his decision," Bruce said after the game. "I don't deserve any explanation from the manager."
Campbell, who entered the game batting .158 in 37 games this season, hit an RBI single in a three-run eighth inning to cut the Braves' lead from 5-3 to 5-4.
Bruce, who was traded from the Cincinnati Reds for Dilson Herrera, was booed by fans at Citi Field.
"The market, as you know, this is not Cincinnati," Collins said.
"I definitely didn't draw it up like this," Bruce said about his struggles. "Coming over here, it's been tough on me. Fortunately, the team has been playing really well, we've been winning games, we're in a good spot when it comes to the playoff race. ... I'm worried about the team, I'm worried about winning games. I have plenty of time to think about myself. Right now is not that time."
The last time Bruce was pinch hit for was with the Reds on Sept. 14, 2014 against the Brewers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"It's one of the worst things you can do as a manager, to pinch hit for a star, especially one of the elite power hitters in the game," Collins said. "But you know, my job is to try to win the game. ... I think he's extremely frustrated. I know, I talked to him about it. ... I told him, this is a different situation here."
To say it was a bad night for Bruce would be an understatement. It's an ugly situation, and at this point who knows if he'll ever regain his confidence for thr stretch run?
Collins really doesn't need to apologize. He's given Bruce countless chances to come through in big spots, and Bruce has yet to deliver. He even gave him a few days off to clear his head and refocus, and Bruce returned, went hitless in three at-bats and looked bad doing it.
The only saving grace for Bruce, at this point, is to believe in the law of averages. Otherwise, Michael Conforto or T.J. Rivera have to get the bulk of at-bats through the rest of the season because Bruce looks lost and I'm not sure he's going to find his way home in 2016.