Mike Napoli’s six seasons with the Angels were filled with good production and fans clamoring for manager Mike Scioscia to play him more at catcher instead of light-hitting defensive specialist Jeff Mathis.
Napoli was traded away in January of 2011 and his two seasons since leaving the Angels have been filled with crushing his former team.
Yesterday that included Napoli going 3-for-3 with two homers off former batterymate Ervin Santana and six RBIs as the Rangers all but extinguished the Angels’ playoff chances.
He’s now played 33 total games against the Angels during the past two seasons, hitting .396 with 12 homers, 10 doubles, and an .829 slugging percentage while getting on base exactly 50 percent of the time.
Or, put another way:
Napoli for the Angels: .831 OPS
Napoli since leaving the Angels: .936 OPS
Napoli against the Angels: 1.329 OPS
When asked about Napoli’s performance, Torii Hunter said it best: “He plays with a vengeance. I hate that he’s doing it, but that’s how you really make a statement.”
The Rays were set to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game, but as Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports, the slugger requested it be canceled out of respect for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died early Sunday morning in a boating accident.
Ortiz was seen tearing up as the Rays remembered Fernandez and held a moment of silence:
Kudos to Ortiz for doing the right thing.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer RBI in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.