Quality at-bats lead to Venable's offensive burst
CINCINNATI -- A little less than a month ago, Padres outfielder Will Venable's batting average was hovering around .220 and his on-base percentage was just below .270 -- both of which were well below his career norms.
Much has changed since then, as Venable entered Sunday's series finale batting .385 with five homers and seven RBIs in his last 20 games dating back to July 14. His batting average was up to .254, while he pushed his on-base percentage to .302.
On Saturday, he extended his hit streak to seven games with a 2-for-4 performance, including his second home run in as many days.
"Will's done a nice job the last month," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He's swinging the bat well; he's playing very well."
After not hitting more than 13 home runs during any of his previous five seasons in the Majors, Venable had hit 15 blasts in his first 108 games of this year heading into Sunday. That mark led the team and also helped Venable to his 37 RBIs, which was 14 shy of the career-high 51 runs he drove in during 2010.
"That's not something that I think about," Venable said of his increased power numbers -- his .476 slugging percentage before Sunday was also a career high. "It's nice. It kind of is what it is. If it helps us win games, that's great."
Despite his improved numbers in the last few weeks, Venable said nothing about how his approach has changed. He said he enters each plate appearance simply looking to produce a quality at-bat, and that plan has paid dividends recently, especially during his hitting streak.
"I'm really not doing anything other than just trying to keep my rhythm and just be on time and get a good pitch to hit," Venable said. "It's worked out so far this past week."