Mike Napoli had not seen Joe Maddon’s calendar, so he had no idea just how good he’s become. “This is the Year of the Napoli, man,” Maddon said. That’s also news to 1.3 billion Chinese whose calendar says it’s the Year of the Rabbit. If they saw Monday night’s game between Tampa Bay and Texas, they’d know where Maddon is coming from.
David Price was finally pitching like the ace he’s supposed to be. He was shutting out the Rangers in the seventh inning. Then Mighty Napoli hit a two-run homer to put Texas ahead. A couple of very tense innings later, Texas had a 4-3 win and a 2-1 lead in the American League Division Series. The Rangers can’t flip the calendar on this series yet, but Game 3 usually decides these affairs. If that proves true, Texas won’t just look back to Monday night. The Rangers will look back to January when they traded for Napoli.
It wasn’t so much a trade as it was a case of grand larceny. They got a catcher who might be Texas' missing World Series piece.
Napoli hit a two-run single to tie Game 2 and propel Texas to an 8-6 win. Monday night at sold-out Tropicana Field, he became the first catcher in postseason history to hit a home run, steal a base and throw out a runner attempting to steal.