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Streaking On The Left Side Of The A's Infield

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There's not much middle ground when it comes to Kevin Kouzmanoff and Cliff Pennington at the plate this year. Why have these two been so streaky at the plate this season?

There's not much middle ground when it comes to Kevin Kouzmanoff and Cliff Pennington at the plate this year.

Kouzmanoff was pretty woeful in April and May, batting .240, slugging .335, and getting on base less than 30% of the time. Then June arrived and brought with it a 14-game hitting streak that included 4 two-hit games, 4 three-hit games, and 3 HRs. Kouz is currently 0 for his last 24.

Pennington, meanwhile, got off to a nifty start slugging .450 in April, until he hit the skids -- and man does this guy know how hit the skids. When he was 6 for his last 66, you had to wonder about Satanic forces (which is when you don't need to tag Satan). Or you could just wait for June, during which Pennington rebounded to hit .338/.402/.442. That'll do, pig. That'll do.

How to explain this extreme a level of "up and down" for our infield next-door neighbors?

Some of it is due to the phenomenon of "cherry picking," whereby you select exactly 66 ABs because Pennington got hits the games before and after -- and so it was not just a 6 for 66 stretch, it was also a 9 for 72 stretch but 6 for 66 is more newsworthy so we choose that exact and arbitrary set of games to note.

Some of it is due to chance, as Kouzmanoff's 0 for 24 is a lot more interesting than the 3 for 24 he'd be if a few recent liners and hole-seeking sharp grounders hadn't been just caught instead of just missed.

Yet even discounting all contextual factors, it's hard to dispute that these two guys have been unusually streaky at the plate this year.