Howie Kendrick isn't sure why he even hits home runs, so asking the Angels second baseman to explain why they've come in such bunches this season can be a fruitless exercise.
"You probably know the answer to that question better than me," Kendrick told a reporter. "My home runs, for sure, are accidents."
To the Angels, they are flukes of fortune. Through Thursday night, Kendrick hit seven homers in 56 at-bats in 14 games for a career-high 15 for the season. His previous high was 10.
"I'm not trying to hit home runs," says Kendrick, who has always been more of a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter. "I'm just happy to hit the ball hard, and if I get some extra carry on it, great. I don't consider myself a power guy or anything like that."
Kendrick entered Friday night's game with a .297 average and 49 runs batted in. Since May 1, his average has risen as high as .322 but has not fallen below .288.
In a season filled with wild production swings from veterans such as Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells and Bobby Abreu, Kendrick has been the Angels' most consistent hitter.
Except when it comes to home runs. Kendrick hit six homers in 70 at-bats from April 1-20. But in 318 at-bats from April 21-Aug. 16, Kendrick hit only two homers. His current power surge started with a homer against Texas on Aug. 17.
"It's really a byproduct of a good swing and squaring up baseballs," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Howie is strong, and he's capable of hitting 10, 15, possibly 20 homers a season, so he's filling his potential. But I don't think he's doing much different in the batter's box."
Getting in that box more has helped. Scioscia used more of an infield rotation after the All-Star break, with Kendrick, Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo sharing second base and third. Kendrick did not start seven of 28 games from July 16-Aug. 15.
But Friday night marked the 16th consecutive game Kendrick started.
"The more you play, the better your timing is," said Kendrick, who clearly wasn't pleased with his sporadic playing time but declined to discuss it in August. "You definitely feel more in sync."
As the rotation turns
With Jered Weaver's start against the Minnesota Twins pushed from Friday to Saturday and Joel Pineiro pitching Sunday, Scioscia said he will probably skip Jerome Williams in the rotation and start Dan Haren and Ervin Santana on regular rest Monday and Tuesday against Seattle.
Weaver was in line to make six more starts this season, all with at least the regular four days of rest, until missing Friday's start.
But if the Angels ace stays on a regular schedule he would either miss the season-ending series against Texas or be forced to start the season finale Sept. 28 on three days rest.
Weaver did not fare well in his first big league start on short rest, giving up seven runs and eight hits in six innings of a 9-5 loss to the Rangers in Texas last Sunday.
Izturis, who left Thursday night's game in Seattle after getting hit by a pitch just above the right knee, was available to pinch-hit Friday night but probably won't be ready to start again until Sunday Joe Mauer was scratched from the Twins' lineup Friday night because of an illness.