In the moment it seemed impossible that Mike Napoli would stay in the game to run the bases, let alone catch the final six (or as it turned out eight) innings, but his ugly looking ankle injury turned out to be less severe than it appeared.
X-rays taken immediately after the game were negative and Napoli told reporters that he expects to play in Game 7 tonight:
There’s one game left. We’ll get out there tomorrow and lay it on the line and hopefully the best things happen for us. I’m going to do whatever I can to stay in. We’re going to do some things tomorrow and try to get me back out there again.
“Some things” probably include a pain-killer or two, although it depends on what Napoli’s ankle looks like when he shows up at the ballpark this afternoon. Adrenaline no doubt helped him play through the pain last night, so it might actually be more difficult for him tonight.
Not only did Napoli go 2-for-3 with an RBI single in Game 6, he made a great play to pick off Matt Holliday from third base in the sixth inning. He’s just the third player in baseball history with 10 or more RBIs in one World Series and will enter Game 7 as the presumed MVP pick if the Rangers win.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.