Kendrick has been Angels' leading man

Kendrick has been Angels' leading man

ANAHEIM -- If it's the Dodgers in the other dugout, it means this is Interleague Play, and that generally means Howard Kendrick is swinging a hot bat.

A .372 career hitter against the Dodgers in 43 at-bats coming into Tuesday night's latest renewal of the Interleague series, Kendrick is a .339 lifetime hitter against the National League. He has moved to the top of the order for manager Mike Scioscia's Angels in the absence of Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis, and his bat has continued to make loud noises even if he's not the prototypical leadoff man along the lines of Chone Figgins.

The Angels have won three of four with Kendrick leading off and making good things happen. He was 5-for-14 with two homers and five RBIs in the three games in Chicago against the Cubs over the weekend, continuing to produce runs wherever he finds himself in Scioscia's lineup.

Kendrick has 26 RBIs in his past 24 games and is on pace for 103, which would better his career high by 42 RBIs.

"Howie's strength is to swing the bat," Scioscia said. "He's getting better at working counts, but it can be a case of diminishing returns [if he gets overly selective]. See the ball, square it up and hit it hard -- that's Howie's strength.

"Howie has the ability to do it. The amount of times he gets in scoring position makes up for his on-base percentage, because he hits a lot of doubles and runs well."