ANAHEIM -- Cliff Pennington is very much aware of his reputation as a streaky hitter and acknowledges his offensive production this season has been defined by more downs than ups. But what better time to be enjoying the latter side?
"I don't like being streaky, but the fact is I've been so far," the A's infielder said. "This is when the games matter. We're in the playoff push, and if you're going to swing it good at one point all year, this is the time to do it."
Pennington has showcased quite the turnaround, having entered Wednesday's contest against the Angels 15-for-33 (.455) with four multihit games over his last 10. Overall, since being reinstated from the disabled list Aug. 7, he's batting .291, nearly 100 points higher than the .197 average he sported in 82 games before his elbow injury.
The transformation just happens to coincide with his move to second base, where much of his pregame focus now lies.
"I think it's just kind of a change of scenery for him," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's working so hard on his defense over at second base, that maybe he's forgotten about the offensive struggles to an extent and just letting his abilities take over."
Pennington insists it's "just a coincidence," though.
"I felt really good in spring early in the year, and then I just hit a rut and it was one of those things where it just snowballed and I couldn't get out of it," he said. "I think I was just trying too hard and finally I realized, 'Personally, this is not going to be a good year regardless of what happens,' and I backed off a little and things started to go better.
"Right now, I'm seeing the ball good, feeling confident, and it's working."