CINCINNATI -- As far as Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick is concerned, all the ingredients have been in place lately to create a recipe for some success.
"I think it's confidence, rhythm, timing -- those are the main three factors," Ludwick said on Monday. "I'm starting to tone down my batting practices and I've been hitting the ball the other way a lot better. I'm staying more squared to the plate. I'm seeing the ball earlier and I'm able to lay off pitches earlier. It's a lot of things.
"I was telling Jake [hitting coach Brook Jacoby] this is the best I've felt in two or three years. The last 10-15 games or so, I've felt really, really comfortable and locked in."
The numbers have reflected the feeling, as Ludwick took a seven-game hitting streak into Monday's series opener vs. the Brewers. During the stretch, he's batting .385 (10-for-26) and has raised his overall average from .201 to .229 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs.
This is a fine time for Ludwick to be finding a groove at the plate. With Scott Rolen and Drew Stubbs off the disabled list, Chris Heisey and Todd Frazier are now part of a crowded left field situation.
Of his last 15 hits, Ludwick has 11 for extra bases -- eight doubles and three homers. Earlier in the season when he struggled, Ludwick was frequently grounding out on balls he should have been driving.
"San Diego did a job on my mind, it really did," said Ludwick, who struggled for the Padres during parts of the 2010-11 seasons. "I feel like I'm just now starting to hit the ball like I was in 2007, '08, '09 and 2010 before I got traded [to Pittsburgh]. When you look at video, my stance is more similar. My bat path is more similar. I'm hitting balls with authority to right field now. It feels good. I'm more excited than I've been in a while."