If you forgot veteran slugger Mike Napoli was a force to be reckoned with, you weren’t alone. The 34-year-old entered Monday’s ALCS Game 3 versus the Blue Jays having gone hitless in the two prior ALCS games as well as the third and final game of the ALDS against the Red Sox. In total, Napoli was 2-for-18 with a single and a double in the 2016 postseason for an uninspiring .111/.111/.167 triple-slash line.
Napoli made his presence felt in Game 3 in a big way, providing some serious lumber. He opened the scoring with two outs in the bottom of the first, drilling an RBI double to right field that caromed off of Jose Bautista, allowing Carlos Santana to score. Napoli followed up in the fourth inning, swatting a no-doubt solo home run to center field off of Marcus Stroman, breaking a 1-1 tie.
Here’s what both hits looked like:
[mlbvideo id=”1207234083″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
Jason Kipnis also hit a solo homer in the sixth inning off of Stroman. Two at-bats later, Stroman walked Napoli, ending his night. Reliever Joe Biagini came in and Jose Ramirez doubled Napoli home to provide the Indians an insurance run. Big night for Napoli.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.